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In a nutshell: A classic and elegant Tawny Port.
The lowdown: This subtle and refined port with an average age of 7 to 8 years is one of Niepoort's quintessential house styles. It has a light colour and a range of flavours and aromas that are based on red fruit tones. A velvety mouth feel with a fine blend of old wines giving richness and younger wines giving freshness and complexity.
When to drink: A good port for drinking by itself and equally well matched to hard cheeses and fruity desserts.
Founded in 1842, the small Port house of Niepoort is now run by 5th generation of the family by brother and sister Dirk and Verena Niepoort. They're one of the few small independent Port houses still in existence but are, nonetheless, a thriving concern. In addition to Port they also concentrate increasingly on the table wines of the Douro valley. It's easy to forget that it was only a few years ago that Niepoort was only sought out by a small band of faithful followers, as stock of remarkable, artisanal wines built up in the cramped old Niepoort lodge in Rua Serpa Pinto in Vila Nova de Gaia.
These days, with a formidable international reputation which spans all styles from aged tawny to vintage, and all points in between, demand threatens to outstrip supply. Ports are all made at the old Museu de Lagares in Vale de Mendiz, which has the only circular granite lagares in the Douro.
To say that Dirk Niepoort has revolutionised wine production in the Douro Valley would only risk understatement. Since his first experimental wine in 1990, and then first commercial production of Redoma Tinto a year later, Dirk has explored terroirs and experimented relentlessly. And with all winemaking (excepting Charme, and of course Port, both at Vale de Mendiz) conducted at the almost futuristic Quinta do Napoles, a plethora of different offerings are meticulously overseen by a dynamic and energetic team.