‘It is not the easiest variety in the world, but if you tame the vines and don’t over crop it, and pick it at the right time, then Baga from…

It is not the easiest variety in the world, but if you tame the vines and don’t over crop it, and pick it at the right time, then Baga from Bairrada is probably the best terroir in Portugal.’ – Dirk Niepoort
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A bold call considering the status of the Douro Valley with its famous Ports and recently mind-blowing reds. As with all Dirk’s projects around the world, his focus is on traditionally made wines that offer elegance while showcasing terroir. Baga is the indigenous grape variety and is likened to Pinot Noir when made in the classic style.

The maritime climate, along with the clay and limestone soils, is the key to the red wines of Bairrada, which are characterised by a natural freshness that in the best examples is retained as the wines age and leads to a rare elegance and grace.’ – Eric Asimov, The New York Times
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The Lagar de Baixo and Poeirinho are light, yet concentrated Baga beauties. The former is slightly more rustic but both offer low alcohols (12%), pure fruit, deep fragrance, fresh acidity and mineral tannins. These will not appeal to all palates but they fit in comfortably with SA’s own new-wave trend.

We also feature the elegant Douro Vertente and the Conciso Tinto from Dão which are made in the same style. From bold Douro reds and Ports, through to long-ageing Vinho Verde, you can browse our selection of Portuguese wines here.

Tasting notes:

Niepoort, Lagar de Baixo 2014 (Bairrada)
Beautiful aromatics here: floral cherries and raspberries. Supple and sweetly fruited, this is smashable but also refined and quite serious. Delicious and fine, and drinking perfectly now, although it will age. – Jamie Goode, Wineanorak.com, 94/100

Niepoort, Poeirinho 2014 (Bairrada)
The 2014 Poeirinho is a Baga aged for 20 months in a wooden vat. Listed at only 11% alcohol, this is from a rather awful vintage in the region. Some may not even produce top-level wines. I was surprised at how much I liked it. Granting that it is younger and fresher than its 2012 sibling this issue, it even seems a little richer on opening, thanks to its relative youth. It doesn’t have the same focus and power, to be sure, but there is respectable concentration for the level and the year, it tastes great, if you like them on the earthier side, and it has real structure. The next day, it is juicy on the finish, plus appealingly complex. This is not the best in the brand from Niepoort, but it is an impressive achievement in a very tough year. – Mark Squires, Wine Advocate, 90/100

Niepoort, Vertente 2014 (Douro)
Mid cherry. Beautifully fragrant with dark-red fruit and a stony quality adding complexity and finesse. On the palate, has a lightness of touch but still a remarkable intensity, allied to extreme freshness. Elegance and great persistence. A wine that is beautifully balanced on a tightrope. – Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, 17,5/20

Niepoort, Conciso Tinto 2014 (Dão)
40% Baga, 30% Jaen and 30% old-vine field blend. Twenty months in 250-litre old barrels. How does Niepoort manage to get such low alcohol and lovely fruit flavours? Mid ruby. Lifted sweet red cherry fruit, showing the Baga component. So fragrant. Fine, soft but compact tannins, gently chewy now but already accessible. Dry but fresh and succulent. – Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, 16,5/20

 

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