Niepoort 2001 Vertente, Douro (PR)

Posted by Keith Wallace

The wines of Niepoort exemplify how much potential northern Portugal has, and the Vertente’s seamless integration of native grape varieties with a decidedly New World sensibility is nothing short of magical.

This wine, an inky red whose edges are showing the telltale brick hues of a bit of bottle age, needed a good 45 minutes in the decanter to open up. But once it did, it simply exploded with deep aromas of roasted coffee, a hint of chocolate-covered cranberry, a fabulously evocative cinnamon note, and an edge of minerality that held it all together.

On the palate, the tannins were still on the chewy side, but far from overwhelming. And the somewhat vegetal flavors of the mid-palate resolved themselves into a lovely, surprisingly ripe raspberry-like fruitiness. The wine was at once rustic and modern, deeply flavorful yet never overwrought. Fabulous juice.

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