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Vertente, Douro 2011

Red Wine from Portugal
Produced with a high proportion of Niepoort estate grapes, part from 20-year-old vines at the breathtaking Quinta de Nápoles in the Tedo valley and the balance from old vineyards in the Pinhão valley. The typical hint of wildness evident in youth has now been replaced by sweet fragrance, lush silky fruit and fine velvety tannins. Low stock: Limited to six bottles per member.
is no longer available
Code: PW4781

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • 14% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2026
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

Portugal

Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card.

Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced.

Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the...
Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card.

Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced.

Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the border with Spain (the name means 'behind the mountains'. The schistous soils and the grapes are similar to those of the Douro. Reds are often lighter and more aromatic than those of neighbouring Douro.

The Douro is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, and deservedly Portugal's best known, the Douro has quickly emerged to lead the way as the country's premium wine region and there is a real pioneering spirit amongst the winemakers here, port shippers included. Although there is an enormous variety of different terroirs within the Douro Valley, this is essentially a sparsely populated, hot, arid region where grapes are grown on spectacularly steep terraced slopes. Wine grapes are the same as those that go into Port. Wines tend to be high in tannin and flavour.

Dão is south of the Douro on granite slopes protected by high mountains and pine forests. The region produces one of Portugal's better-known reds of the same name. Once dominated by rather lack-lustre co-operatives, the area now has a whole clutch of dynamic, small producers making elegant, approachable and enjoyable wines.

Between the mountains and the coast, on fertile clay soils, is Bairrada (barro is Portuguese for clay). Better known for red wines, this is one of the only wine regions in Portugal to be dominated by a single grape variety,the tannic, high-acid baga, making wines that can be tough and astringent in their youth but which soften with age, becoming beguilingly perfumed. These days many blend baga with non-indigenous grapes to make a friendlier style, but the greatest are pure baga. The area also benefits from late-afternoon breezes which favour the production of fresh, food-friendly whites and increasingly popular sparkling wines.

Beira Interior is a rather disparate region covering a vast swathe of inland Portugal south of the Douro and east of Dão. Vineyards are grown at altitude on granite soils. In the north, grapes are similar to those of the Douro while the south has a whole mix of varieties.

Lisboa is a large, coastal region that runs north from Lisbon. Atlantic breezes help cool the vineyards and maintain the fresh acidity and aromatics in the mostly white wines. North of Bucelas, on the Atlantic west coast lies the strip of rolling countryside that contains nine separate DOCs under the umbrella name of Lisboa. This is Portugal's largest wine producing region in volume terms.

Bucelas was the first wine The Society ever sold! This tiny DOC is one of the closest to Lisbon. It produces breezy dry whites which are popular locally.

Tejo was formerly known as Ribatejo is known for good, everyday drinking wines in a range of styles from a wide range of permitted grapes. This region lies on either side of the River Tagus

Lying across the mouth of theTagus river, the Península de Setúbal is a flat, sandy region with the exception of the Serra da Arrábida a short chain of mountains with clay and limestone soils. There are two DOCs here, Palmela north-east of the peninsula where the castelão grape is ideally suited to the sandy soils, and Setúbal, where a sweet fortified wine is made primarily from muscat of Alexandria.

The Alentejo province stretches south from the Tagus to the Algarve and east to the border with Spain and covers almost a third of continental Portugal. Divided into seven diverse sub-regions, the undulating hills are home to many crops. Despite the challengingly arid climate here, this is a dynamic region, referred to sometimes as Portugal's 'new world'.
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Niepoort

Five generations of the Niepoort family have propelled their independent family winery to fame since its inception in 1842. The Niepoorts are originally from the Netherlands, historically a great port-importing nation, but like many Dutch entrepeneurs at the time, Franciscus Marius van der Niepoort moved his family to Portugal to establish his own port house. His future generations both continued and improved upon his legacy, and in 2005, the current generation – Dirk and his sister Verena – took to the helm.

Dirk has actually been working for Niepoort since 1987, assisting his father Rolf with both maintaining tradition and bringing the winery into the 21st century. It was Dirk who insisted the family buy back their own vineyards back in 1987. They purchased 25 hectares, 15 of which were new vines and 10 of which are 60 years old, planted on granite soils. The vineyards are protected by the surrounding mountains, but the climate is still a harsh one: summers are scorching, but the winters can be freezing. The Niepoort vineyards produce some of the finest Douro red and white wines, with many at higher altitudes allowing a longer, cooler ripening period.

Dirk remains at the forefront of Douro table wine production – he has been producing the famous Redoma since 1991 with great success – and he is well-known for his production of wines with an excellent balance between forcefulness and elegance. He also has a non-interventionist approach to winemaking: he uses no enzymes,...
Five generations of the Niepoort family have propelled their independent family winery to fame since its inception in 1842. The Niepoorts are originally from the Netherlands, historically a great port-importing nation, but like many Dutch entrepeneurs at the time, Franciscus Marius van der Niepoort moved his family to Portugal to establish his own port house. His future generations both continued and improved upon his legacy, and in 2005, the current generation – Dirk and his sister Verena – took to the helm.

Dirk has actually been working for Niepoort since 1987, assisting his father Rolf with both maintaining tradition and bringing the winery into the 21st century. It was Dirk who insisted the family buy back their own vineyards back in 1987. They purchased 25 hectares, 15 of which were new vines and 10 of which are 60 years old, planted on granite soils. The vineyards are protected by the surrounding mountains, but the climate is still a harsh one: summers are scorching, but the winters can be freezing. The Niepoort vineyards produce some of the finest Douro red and white wines, with many at higher altitudes allowing a longer, cooler ripening period.

Dirk remains at the forefront of Douro table wine production – he has been producing the famous Redoma since 1991 with great success – and he is well-known for his production of wines with an excellent balance between forcefulness and elegance. He also has a non-interventionist approach to winemaking: he uses no enzymes, cultured yeast or added acid. His winery at Rio Tedo in the Douro Valley is a reflection of this environmentally-friendly approach: completed in 2007, it is a stunning, curved building that fits in with its natural surroundings.

Dirk wanted a winery that looked natural, and artificial air-conditioning is used minimally and with as much efficiency as possible. Dirk is also well-known for collaborating in the production of ‘Project’ wines with growers outside of the Douro; notably, with Telmo Rodriguez in Spain, Dorli Muhr and Craig Hawkins in Austria, as well as Docil Vinho Verde. Niepoort are also open to having fun: their Niepoortland range of ports – called Ruby Dum and Tawny Dee – are inspired by Alice in Wonderland, and they’ve even created a vintage port board game.

More recently Dirk has realized his dream to produce wines elsewhere in Portugal and he now has organically farmed vineyards in Bairrada and Dão.
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Portugal Vintage 2011

Good, well-balanced wines were made with the north shining, particularly in vinho verde country. The residual water left over from the wet winter of 2010 and further rain in the following winter was important in sustaining the vines in this drier summer, particularly for the Douro and Bairrada, and this was topped up with some late August and September rain. The harvest there was carried out in excellent conditions by and large and it has ended up being a very good vintage indeed, particularly for tourigan nacional and touriga franca. Reds across Portugal did well and some lovely whites were made in regions such as Beiras, Minho (vinho verde), Bairrada, Dão, Lisboa and Setúbal.

Port - 2011 is only the second universal declaration since 2003 and there really is excellence throughout, marked by great purity of fruit, minerality and freshness overlaying richness and power. There is exceptional depth of colour and concentration of flavour, with wild-berry fruit and bitter-chocolate to the...
Good, well-balanced wines were made with the north shining, particularly in vinho verde country. The residual water left over from the wet winter of 2010 and further rain in the following winter was important in sustaining the vines in this drier summer, particularly for the Douro and Bairrada, and this was topped up with some late August and September rain. The harvest there was carried out in excellent conditions by and large and it has ended up being a very good vintage indeed, particularly for tourigan nacional and touriga franca. Reds across Portugal did well and some lovely whites were made in regions such as Beiras, Minho (vinho verde), Bairrada, Dão, Lisboa and Setúbal.

Port - 2011 is only the second universal declaration since 2003 and there really is excellence throughout, marked by great purity of fruit, minerality and freshness overlaying richness and power. There is exceptional depth of colour and concentration of flavour, with wild-berry fruit and bitter-chocolate to the fore, all built on a foundation of well-structured tannins that will provide for a long, long life. There had been rumours at harvest time that great things were expected and it is pleasing to be able to say that the vintage does not disappoint.
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2011 vintage reviews

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