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  Dirk Niepoort, Niepoort Vinhos
  www.niepoort-vinhos.com
 
Dirk Niepoort, Niepoort Vinhos

The port wine lodge Niepoort, established in 1842, only started to have vineyards of its own in 1987, when Dirk van der Niepoort joined his father Rolf in the business. Until then, Niepoort had been a classic port wine shipper: the basic wines were purchased from contract vineyards in the Douro region, and enhanced, matured, blended and marketed in the company's wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia.

Dirk van der Niepoort, born in 1964, discovered his interest and subsequently his passion for wine as an intern with Mövenpick in Switzerland. He no longer was satisfied with the conventional work in the port wine lodge, but wanted to produce grapes of his own to control the quality from the beginning. One of the reasons for this decision was his intention to have his own grapes treaded in lagares - a costly type of maceration involving lots of work. However, Dirk was certain that port wines lose density and complexity when they are fermented only in tanks. He purchased the dilapidated Quinta de Nápoles in Cima Corgo, on the left bank of the Tedo River, one of the oldest quintas of the Douro, which is mentioned as early as 1496 in historic documents, and started to process grapes in the old-fashioned tradition. One year later the Niepoorts also purchased the Quinta do Carril just above Quinta de Nápoles.

Both vineyards had been neglected for decades and there was no palatable evidence that the cultivation area was suitable to produce great wine. Consequently, the Niepoort family initially only invested in the restoration and cultivation of the vineyards. 15 hectares had to be planted with new vines, and 10 hectares could be preserved. Those vines today are more than 70 years old. In addition to his first homegrown port wines, Dirk van der Niepoort also experimented with table wines. In 1990, Dirk first vinified a red wine that he called Robustus. Most taste judges called this wine, which featured powerful tannins and forceful acidity, undrinkable and Robustus never came on the market. The wine was only discovered 10 years later and created great enthusiasm. Dirk van der Niepoort vinified his first red Redoma from grapes harvested in 1991 and came out with a white Redoma in 1995, followed by a rosé of the same name in 1999. In 1999, the first Batuta came on the market, which was produced from the oldest vines on the northern slopes of the Quinta do Carril and advanced to cult status in Portugal within a very short time. Dirk has no oenological background, but makes wine by feeling and experience. “Charme” for example, an experiment since 2000 with which Dirk wants to refer to his favourite wine region Burgundy, is a wine that technically seen is impossible to make – nevertheless it is today one of the most sought after wines of Portugal. With “Vertente” Niepoort has launched a wine that combines the majestic severity of the Douro with drinkability and freshness.

   
   
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