Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Monday, 26 September 2016

#winelover – Port immersion September 2016 – another remarkable Port tasting

The line of Ports going back to VV Niepoort 
based mainly on 1863


Following on from the very good Port tasting we were privileged to enjoy on Friday with Tania Oliveira we had another remarkable Port tasting on Saturday at Niepoort's Quinta de Nápoles, a little upstream on the Douro from Regua. This was brilliantly tutored by Bento Amaral, the director of technical services and certification for the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e do Porto (IVDP)

Before the tasting we had a walk through the vineyards of Nápoles, which counts 115 different grape varieties. We also had the first session of the #winelover 1st Symposium (#IWS16).  

 The line-up of Ports 
Niepoort VV

The tasting (includes climate etc. comments from Bento Amaral)
Bento Amaral commented at the end of the tasting that all of these wines are great as indeed they were – such a privilege to taste them especially with a fascinating commentary from Bento, who wears his knowledge so lightly and humbly.

Many thanks to André Ribeirinho for organising this tasting and to Dirk Niepoort for hosting this event at Quinta de Nápoles, even though this is the middle of the harvest. In addition he very generously opened some large format bottles over lunch including a stunning demijohn of 1948. 

Ramos Pinto Vintage 1982 
Very dry winter and summer. Mid red colour, cherry nose, soft, cherry texture, still some spirit, split vintage by declaration with some houses opting instead for 1983.

Quinta do Noval 2011 
Classically good year. For some people best year ever - eg Symington

Youthful purple colour, slightly fishy smell, dense, quite noticeable tannins, but softness there. Length and length. Very extracted Ports. Main grape varieties used Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Roriz.

Quevedo 30-year-old white tawny Port 
Mid-golden colour, floral, lightly nutty, lovely texture, dried apricot, length and delicacy. Citric notes. Very attractive. Just 1000 bottles produced. 100€ for 50cl bottle.   

Exports of Port from the Douro valley were banned until 8th May 1986. Prior to that all Port had to be exported from Vila Nova do Gaia and as there was no demand for white Port at the time growers were left with stocks of white Port, which the Port companies wouldn't buy. Oscar Quededo explained that he and his sister had recently decided to bottle a small quantity of this lovely 30-year-old white Port. 

It was the accession into the EU that forced the change in the Port laws including the right to export which has allowed independent producers like Quevedo to become established in their own right    

Poças Colheita 1976 
Mid-gold a little darker than white Port. Delicate, a little spirit is noticeable, length. Orange peel and charm.

Very dry winter, very hot dry summer. Light rain in September. 23rd September saw the start of harvest.

Vasques de Carvalho 40-year-old tawny 
Considerably deeper colour than 1976.walnut colour,  spirit and spice on nose, nutty, raisin, quite austere in the finish, lovely length of spice. Very fine.

144 grams residual sugar, 5.92 acidity. Company based in Regua.   

Niepoort Colheita 1957 
Deepening walnut colour, nutty, dried apricot, some raisin character, precision and length, white pepper. Delightful! Bottled 1972. 

Dirk Niepoort is convinced of the potential for tawnies and colheitas to age in bottle whereas many in the Port trade prefer that Tawnies and Colheitas are consumed soon after they are bottled. For this reason these wines are bottled in small batches according to demand.   

Kopke white tawny Port 1935 
Climate: Dry winter, some frost, irregular summer. Split vintage declaration with some houses preferring to declare 1934, whole others plumped for 1935.  

Bento said that the 1935s are keeping better than 1934. 

Mid-walnut colour, similar in colour to Niepoort 1957. Wood spice on nose, Quite sweet initially but very soon attractive austerity comes through, citric, orange notes lovely length of wood spice present. Bottled last week – the opposite policy to that of Dirk.

Niepoort VV 
Very deep gold, spice dominant, wood spice, rich dried apricot character, extraordinary concentration and austerity and length, dried fruits. 999 bottles produced with 1863 main constituent.

VV old vines. Mainly in aged in Gaia. Bottled 1972. 1863 was the year of phylloxera arrived in the Douro, so this VV is from pre-phylloxera vines. 


Dirk Niepoort

      The remarkable 1948 – what a complex treat!

Harvest in progress at 
Quinta de Nápoles 


Sunday, 25 September 2016

#winelover in the Douro – pics from two great days

 Line up of a remarkable and brilliant tutored tasting 
at the Niepoort quinta in the Douro
(24th September 2016)

Niepoort VV – main constituent 1863 
Very old tawny Port
Demijohn of 1948 Port very generously opened by
Dirk Niepoort for #winelover seminar

 Douro at sunset


Saturday, 24 September 2016

#winelover Port immersion trip – Barros, Burmester, Cálem and Kopke Colheitas

Views from Burmester

#winelovers gather 

Atmospheric shaft of light in Cálem cellars

Tasting of Colheitas at the Cálem cellars
Yesterday we were treated to a remarkable tasting of colheitas starting at 2000 and going back to 1941. We were told about the need to air these wines from time to time and to add a little more spirit just before the wines are bottled. All of these wines had been recently bottled. 

Brief notes of the tasting of colheitas – Barros, Burmester, Cálem and Kopke – from the Sogevinus Fine Wines Group:

Cálem 2000
Quite deep walnut colour, dense, richly textured, quite noticeable spirit some spice here., length, fig and raisin character. Spicy character said to come from from mahogany used in a proportion of the bottles.

Burmester 1989
Slightly less dense colour, softer less powerful than Calem attractive complexity and length.

Barros 1974
Again paler, very attractive texture, spice, nuts, light rainsiny character, length. Very fine, stylish wine.

Kopke 1966
Quite dense colour, power and wood spice, texture - mouthfeel, power and length, less complex than 1974 but more colour. CRM - a butch number.

Cálem 1961
Walnut colour, aged wood spice, concentration and spice, length and power, still needs time. Less expressive than some. Long spicy finish. Dried fruits. 

Kopke 1957
Deep walnut colour, richly textured, mouthfeel, power, spice in the finish, length. Still youthful but great complexity. Great length although wood spice becoming dominant in finish. Along with the 1974 this was my favourite of the tasting.

Burmester 1952
Mid-walnut colour, wood spice on nose, quite sweetly textured, power and length, spicy power

Kopke 1941
Deep walnut colour, wood spice nose, very richly textured, power, still big potential but wood spice becoming more dominant in the finish.

Characteristics as viewed by Sogevinus group:
Cálem: spicy and powerful rustic

Kopke: more balanced integrated

Burmester: more complex

Barros: easy, rounder, a little sweeter more residual sugar