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    My Column

    Less is more!

    There are basically two aproaches: “terroir” makes a great wine and a winemaker makes a great wine (let’s assume that a great winemaker makes great wine)

    I believe totally in the first and old fashioned theory; the name winemaker says it all: the one who makes the wine. In the past, the “winemakers” were not known by that name but as cellar master, or something similar.

    I believe the duty of a “winemaker”, or maybe “wine educator” is a better term, involves having the technical knowledge while trying to understand the grapes, the soil and the area, as well as the terroir, and then adapting those winemaking skills in order to create a wine that expresses its full potential, rather than making the wine just the way they want.

     

    In modern times, we have so many technical choices, machines, equipment and vinological products that even though the possibilities seem to be greater, the wines seem to increasingly taste more artificial and similar. There can be no doubt that the average quality has increased and less faulty wines are sold, but the wines are becoming more and more undrinkable – to the point where they are heavy, sweet, fat, dark, over-extracted and over-oaked – and in reality one just does not want to drink them.

    I think the time has come to back up a little and try to do less instead of too much. We have to forget some things that we learned at university, such as the fact that we have to crush the grapes after de-stemming – and whether we actually have to de-stem at all – just to extract more colour.

    In fact, I find it extraordinary that in reality 90% of our winemaking decisions are taken in order to extract colour (from the red wines). For most wine educators, it is almost impossible to take decisions without thinking about the extraction of colour; indeed, if one made red wine while eliminating all the decisions based on colour, one would most probably have a much better and more interesting fine wine.

     

     We have to make wines that are digest, which is a very French word that says it all.  We should make wines that make you feel good and which make your stomach happy.

    I believe in wines that have character, identity and balance, as well as some edginess and freshness in their youth, and which dispel a lot of unnecessary fruitiness (modern wines are too fruity, while freshness is what it is all about).

    My vision is to learn from the old, as older people that know the traditions and habits of certain areas, and combine that empiric wisdom with modern knowledge.

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    Me

    Francisco van der Niepoort came to Portugal from Holland in 1842, with the aim of embarking upon the port trade. Francisco wouldn't have dared to dream that his great-great-grandson Dirk would make Niepoort into one of the best-known names and most internationally renowned wine producers. Together with his sister Verena, Dirk represents the fifth generation of Niepoorts; he is a wine-fanatic like very few in the entire world. Not only in that he has developed the port wines of his family to classic status, but he also felt obliged to follow his own passion and produce dry table wines. What began as an experiment—one that many folks characterised as 'undrinkable'—laid the groundwork whereby he became the pathfinder—not only for the Douro, but for Portugal as a nation.

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    Pro Me

    THE PROUST Q&A: DIRK NIEPOORT

    Born in 1964 to a distinguished family of Dutch Port shippers, with his wild mop of curly hair and huge personality, Dirk Niepoort is the face of the “New Douro” and has done much to modernise and promote the Portuguese wine region. His first release was four barrels of Robustus in 1990, following up with table wine Redoma a year later. He has since gone on to push the boundaries of Portuguese viticulture in his aim to produce Portugal’s best table wine. The self-trained winemaker lives in Vila Nova de Gaia with his wife and three children.

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?

    The simple things in life usually make me happy.

    What is your greatest fear? 

    Family problems.

    Who do you most admire?

    There are many people I admire. Apart from my father and our blenders Jose and Zeze, people like Wilhelm Haag, Angelo Gaia, Steve Jobs and many more.

    What is your greatest extravagance?

    A tasting of the “best” wine of each year from 1900 to 1999 in Finland.

    What is your current state of mind? 

    Dazed and confused.

    What is the quality you most like in a woman? 

    Individuality, tenderness and understanding me a little bit.

    What words or phrases do you most overuse?

    “Freshness” and “mineral”. 

    Who or what is the greatest love of your life?

    Apart from my children and my wife a thing called Niepoort. 

    When and where were you happiest?

    At Niepoort many times and when travelling in my camper van.

    If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

    I wouldn’t change a thing.

    Which talent would you most like to have?

    To be able to draw.

    What do you consider your greatest achievement?

    My patience and stubborness helped me get somewhere.

    Where would you most like to live?

    Right where I am in Porto.

    What is your most marked characteristic?

    My patience and being able to think 20 years ahead.

    Who are your favorite writers?

    Milan Kundera.

    Who is your hero of fiction?

    I don’t like fiction.

    What is it that you most dislike?

    People having a nasty side to them, which is very often related to greed and jealousy.

    What is your motto?

    Less is more.

    Who would be your ideal dinner party guests and what three wines would you serve?

    It would be with three friends. I won’t reveal their names because they’re not famous but I love sharing wine with each of them and the three together would be wonderful. I’d also like to have my wife and two sons Marco and Daniel around the table and my daughter Anna who is too young to drink.

    As there are so many people I’d be allowed more wines, so would kick things off with a magnum of Bollinger 1964, moving on to Leflaive Bienvenue Batard Montrachet 1985. As we ease into the evening, I’d pour Hermitage La Chapelle 1961, followed by Château Margaux from 1900, which I haven’t tried yet.

    To try and top that, I’d then go for Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1966, followed by a magnum of Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux 1978. Towards the end of the evening the Port would have to come out in the form of Taylor’s 1924 and Niepoort Colheita 1908. I think that would just about do us

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

Dirk Niepoort / Niepoort, Wine Maker (Portugal)  had a tasting of  22 Wines  from  1 Producers 

Niepoort Vintage Port 2019 / Brilliant appearance with a dark purple rim and concentrated depth of colour. The aroma is fine and subdued with only a hint of primary dark fruits and some spice. The true potential and style of this wine really comes together on the palate with wonderful integration of dark fruits with a grainy tannic structure, pairing volume with amazing balance and elegance and an impressive finish. In conclusion, the primary fruit on the palate is appealing at this stage, but it’s the balanced tannic structure which indicates great ageing potential for the future.

 

7d 23h ago

Dirk Niepoort / Niepoort, Wine Maker (Portugal)  had a tasting of  16 Wines  from  16 Producers 

The 100-tasting 1990's - wines like Petrus 1990, Harlan Estate 1994, Screaming Eagle 1999, Masseto 1997, Mouton Rothschild 1990 etc.

3m 6d ago

Dirk Niepoort / Niepoort, Wine Maker (Portugal)  had a tasting of  14 Wines  from  14 Producers 

Tasting wines like Le Pin, Haut-Brion, Latour, Dominus etc.

4m 30d ago

Dirk Niepoort / Niepoort, Wine Maker (Portugal)  had a tasting of  21 Wines  from  15 Producers 

Champagne Magazines The 100 Best Champagne 2020 -tasting!

3y 6m ago

Dirk Niepoort / Niepoort, Wine Maker (Portugal)  had a tasting of  30 Wines  from  1 Producers 

DoDa 2012 / It was Rolf Niepoort who conceived the idea, and Dirk who brought it to fruition: a project which was initiated 17 years ago. This wine was borne from Rolf Niepoort’s conception of an ideal Portuguese wine, which would combine the elegance, freshness and longevity of the wines of the Dão region with the structure and power of Douro wines. It would marry the fruitiness provided by the schist soils of the Douro with the pine needle aromas and the minerality which are so typical of the granite soils of the Dão. This vintage is a blend of 60% Douro wine from very old vines of the Quinta de Nápoles (some as old as 120 years) and 40% Dão wine from the Quinta da Pellada, also stemming from old vines consisting of the typical grape varieties of the region: Tourigo, Jaen, Alfrocheiro and Tinta Roriz.

3y 11m ago

Dirk Niepoort / Niepoort, Wine Maker (Portugal)  had a tasting of  11 Wines  from  1 Producers 

Coche 2011, like the 2010, is also a great wine with a great character and intense mineral hints. Coche displays citrus and mineral aromas, with a variety of floral hints and great complexity. On the palate is elegant, with several layers to discover, with very firm acidity and concentration. It features hints of stone fruits and minerals, and it has great persistence and length in the finish.

Flowering was very early in 2011 and the entire cycle was anticipated, with the harvest starting earlier than ever before. However, the maturation of the vines planted at higher altitudes was slower and when the harvest ended all wines had a good amount of malic acid.

The traditional vines, aged over 80 years, are mostly planted in schist soil. About 30% are planted in granite soils and in years such as 2011 these vines convey enormous freshness to the wines.

Alcoholic fermentation occurred in French oak barrels of 228 litres. The wine aged 12 months in the same barrels without bâtonnage, where malolactic fermentation occurred, and then five months in stainless steel vats before bottling in February 2013.

 

4y 3m ago

Dirk Niepoort / Niepoort, Wine Maker (Portugal)  had a tasting of  10 Wines  from  1 Producers 

The 2017 Redoma Reserva Branco displays a light, crystalline lemon colour. Its vivacious and mineral aromatic profile reflects the vines’ fantastic terroir. Complex aromas with hints of toast from the barrels complement the wine’s distinct floral and delicate character. Notes of spice, tropical fruits and white blossoms emerge to form a very complex and seductive ensemble. Tight and vibrant on the palate, with some body and a marked acidity, the wine offers plenty of elegance and depth. The finish is very long, with a final touch of smokiness and salinity. Much like its previous versions, this is a white wine which will greatly benefit from cellaring. Serve in Burgundy-style wine glass.

The 2017 viticultural year was once again very atypical in the Douro region. Due to the extreme drought, harvest began on 10 August and concluded on 10 September – according to our records, this is the earliest date we have ever started and ended harvesting. The grapes proved to be of excellent quality, with firm and crunchy skins and ripe seeds. Thanks to Niepoort’s philosophy to harvest early, we were able to obtain fruit with sufficient acidity to produce fresh and elegant wines. The grapes were transported to the cellar under temperature-controlled conditions, sorted meticulously upon arrival and then gently and slowly pressed. The grape must was left to settle for approximately 24 hours before slowly fermenting in 228L French oak barrels. The Redoma Reserva matured for 10 months in barrel, without bâtonnage. It only partially underwent malolactic fermentation.

4y 3m ago

Dirk Niepoort / Niepoort, Wine Maker (Portugal)  had a wine moment

“Niepoort 30 years Old Tawny / This is a love / hate story
This is the most complicated blend at niepoort. This port has an amazing balance combining many extremes; It is dryer than usual making the wine more austere and less approachable. It is very seductive but not jumping out of the glas. It is a port that wants you to get deep into your glass and explore it.
On the palate it is very sexy and almost light in the beginning but grows on you as you drink it.For many people this is the best tawny of all, For others it is too complicated and demanding
Here the experience of our blending team is at its best. Parallel to me being the 5 th generation the Nogueira family is also working with us in the 5 th generation.
Niepoort is all about long long impirical experience and tradition”

6y 2m ago

1 Wines 1 Producers

Dirk Niepoort / Niepoort, Wine Maker (Portugal)  had a tasting of  3 Wines  from  1 Producers 

"30 years old Niepoort tawny / This is a love / hate story
This is the most complicated blend at niepoort. This port has an amazing balance combining many extremes; It is dryer than usual making the wine more austere and less approachable
It is very seductive but not jumping out of the glas. It is a port that wants you to get deep into your glass and explore it.
On the palate it is very sexy and almost light in the beginning but grows on you as you drink it.
For many people this is the best tawny of all. For others it is too complicated and demanding
Here the experience of our blending team is at its best. Parallel to me being the 5 th generation the Nogueira family is also working with us in the 5 th generation.
Niepoort is all about long long impirical experience and tradition."

7y 23d ago

Dirk Niepoort / Niepoort, Wine Maker (Portugal)  had a tasting of  4 Wines  from  4 Producers 

"Krug Clos du Mesnil 1996 -a great blanc de blanc. a perfect match between lot s of acidity, richness, power and intensity combined with a fantastic creaminess due to the long time on the yeast. still too young but giving lots of promisses. very close to perfection."

10y 3m ago

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