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DIRK NIEPOORT - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby Roy Hersh     » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:49 pm

Dirk Niepoort is going to be here to share his knowledge about Port, Douro wine, Madeira ... pretty much having to do with any wine related question. He has been in the Port trade since the mid-1980s and travels the world promoting the Douro as a region. Please join me in welcoming Dirk.

Get your questions ready as this is going to be a ton of fun!
Ambition driven by passion, rather than money, is as strong an elixir as is Port. http://www.fortheloveofport.com
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby Roy Hersh     » Mon May 03, 2010 1:33 pm

I'd like to start off the questions by asking Dirk:

When you spent time at wineries in other parts of the world, before returning to join your father in the family business for the first time, what were those early years like and what were some of the lessons you learned from your overseas vinous adventures; as well as what Rolf van der Niepoort imparted in his son who would soon takeover the reigns upon his retirement?
Ambition driven by passion, rather than money, is as strong an elixir as is Port. http://www.fortheloveofport.com
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby Tom D.     » Mon May 03, 2010 1:46 pm

Welcome indeed! I have a soft spot for Niepoort -- it was a gorgeous bottle of very young 2000 Niepoort VP that helped turn my early curiosity about Port into a true love. Looking forward to this week's forum. [cheers.gif]
Last edited by Tom D. on Mon May 03, 2010 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby David Spriggs     » Mon May 03, 2010 1:52 pm

Hi Dirk,
I love your wines (both the Ports and the Douro) and would love to know more about what makes three of your rarest wines so unique and special - the vineyard, vinifictaion, etc. The three wines are:

Redoma Branco Reserva
Charme
Robustus

Thanks in advance!
-Dave-
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby Andy Velebil     » Mon May 03, 2010 2:58 pm

Hi Dirk,

First I wanted to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule this week to join us. Being quite a fan of both your Douro wines and Ports I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions for you as the week progresses.

My first question is regarding Garrafeira's. Since your the only company still making this type of Port (that I know of), what challenges do you face by continuing to do so? I ask because if I recall correctly at one point I thought the IVDP had talked about doing away with the law allowing them.

Also, are you continuing to lay aside more demi-johns so your children can continue the legacy of making this rare type of Port?

And what makes a Garrafeira different from say a Colheita or Vintage Port?

Last part (told you I have plenty of questions :mrgreen: )...being born in 1973 I have a soft spot for trying to located any Port from this vintage, which is no easy task as you know. A number of years ago I saw you had demi-johns from this vintage in your Lodge. Any plans to bottle it in the near future?

Thanks [cheers.gif]
Andy Velebil Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used. William Shakespeare http://www.fortheloveofport.com
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby Glenn E.     » Mon May 03, 2010 3:06 pm

Hi Dirk, [welcome.gif]

What is it about Niepoort Colheitas that allows them to age so beautifully after being bottled? Conventional wisdom says that tawnies should be consumed as soon as possible after bottling, but I find that many Colheitas - yours in particular - age very nicely and can even improve. Is there some key step that you do differently than everyone else, or is it just a stylistic difference?

Second question... since you are one of the few producers who still makes them (possibly the only producer?), can you explain the difference in style between a Vintage Port and a Garrafeira? I would wager that most of us here have never had a Garrafeira, though your 1964 is one of my holy grails. How would we expect them to differ from a Vintage Port in sight, smell, and taste? (I assume that a comparison to Vintage Port would be closer than a comparison to Colheita, correct?)

Thanks for taking the time to be with us this week and answer our questions. I hope to some day meet you in person, but until then I'll just keep enjoying your Ports!
Glenn Elliott
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby Stewart T.     » Mon May 03, 2010 3:20 pm

Hi Dirk -

It's no secret that you've been known as an innovator in the Douro. Come on now - Riesling and Pinot Noir? From the Douro? ;)

I was wondering which of your projects has been personally the most exciting for you?

PS - I'll return your truck when I visit you in two weeks ------------------------->
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby Derek T.     » Mon May 03, 2010 7:11 pm

Dirk,

Welcome to :ftlop:

Can you please let us know what your long-term plans are for Niepoort Pisca? Do you plan to make this an established Niepoort brand or is it one of your infamous experiments?

Although I have heard you explain the concept before I think it would be useful for others here to have the background to this project and what it is you have set out to achieve.

I will try to think of a slightly more difficult question for tomorrow (I will save "what are the benefits and disadvantages of IVDP Regulation?" until later in the week) :wink:

Derek
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby Melanie R. » Mon May 03, 2010 11:00 pm

Hello Dirk,
I am the "infamous" Melanie who was the writer of the Question for the Port Trade in the most recent FTLOP newsletter (the question was regarding what is being done to market Port to younger adult consumers). I was curious about your mention of the comic book about Port that is being released. Can you tell us more about this book? Where will it be distributed? I would be interested to see a copy if they are being made available in the US.

Thank you.
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Re: DIRK NIEPOORT IS HERE THIS WEEK AS OUR HOST

Postby Rune EG     » Tue May 04, 2010 12:06 am

Hello Dirk!
I had the pleasure of participating in the limited group February 2007 in Oslo, Norway, when you had a lecture and tasting of Douro red / white Douro wines and various very nice ports. Very interesting, and an experience I have brought with me later on. I have a few questions related to your various projects.
1) On the Niepoort web site there is "projectos" newsletter, but it seems to be only in Portuguese
Do you issue this newsletter also in English?
2) I have noticed that you recently released the Niepoort Pisca Vintage Port 2007. Is this Pisca-release the start of making something similar to Quinta do Noval
Nacional (very small quanity and very high quality), or is it more the different way of making it that is the purpose of making a separate label?
3) The two State Wine Monopoly shops here in Norway will on Thursday 6th May provide (in limited quantities) various Niepoort red wines that have not been sold here before. One is Niepoort Omlet 2005. You have written some wrods abt this wine under you "projectos" site, but only in Portuguese. Is this a project only for 2005, and what was special with this wine?
4) I have purchased some bottles of two of your Austrian red wines, the Spitzerberg and the Carnuntum, and they are very nice / different / interesting wines. Have noticed that there are more red wines and also a white wine coming out of your Austrian project. Will the Austrian production continue under your supervision?

Best regards
Rune E. Gustavsen
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby dirk niepoort » Tue May 04, 2010 1:51 am

good morning everybody.
I´m going to the douro today so that I will only be able to write later in the afternoon.
i m looking forward reading all the questions.
regards
dirk
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby Daniel R.     » Tue May 04, 2010 3:54 am

Dear Dirk,

My introduction into the wonderful world of Port was principally framed by Niepoort Colheita, by far my father's favourite Port. In the past few years I have been buying Port both for myself and my father. It is incredibly frustrating to buy Port when one lives in Portugal because there is very little variety and older bottles are too expensive... My best options are in the UK where I need to ship it back (which is what I frequently end up doing).

I am well aware that the Port industry started out as an export industry. Even though I have a stated self interest, my question is: shouldn't it be important for the industry to have the Portuguese as a whole to drink, be knowledgeable, and preach about Port?

Thanks (waiting for the 1977 Garrafeira...)

Daniel
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby Eric Ifune     » Tue May 04, 2010 6:43 am

Hello Dirk,
Thank you for participating here.
I think everyone knows that you drink a wide variety of wines from around the world. Who are your favorite producers and do they somehow influence or inspire your winemaking?
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby Espen S. » Tue May 04, 2010 7:47 am

Hello Dirk, and welcome. [cheers.gif]
I'm a fan of your great Ports, and I'm looking forward to get some of your more exclusive Douro wines, as they finally become available here in Norway (some in very limited amounts, I think).

I read a lot of reviews from other wine lovers and experts, but I also like to hear the winemaker's view on what is the ideal drinking window for an ageworthy wine, in this case the 2005 and 2007 Vintage Ports, the only ones I have in my cellar at the moment. What is your opinion on this?

Thank you for taking some time to join us Port maniacs. :-)
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby Michael M. » Tue May 04, 2010 9:37 am

Hallo Dirk,

schön, dass du hier bist!

I do have a Pisca related question. By most of the professional journos 2007 Niepoort Pisca VP is regarded to mature considarably earlier than the 2007 Niepoort VP. I was very impressed about the elegance and the both polished and powerful tannins of 2007 Pisca VP. My idea was when I tasted 2007 Pisca VP and 2007 Niepoort VP side by side over a period of 4 days in February that the Pisca was pretty closed at the moment and a lot of its substance seemed to be covered by those mighty tannins. My impression was that Pisca seems to have the composition to go the long way.

What do you think about regarding the 2007 Niepoort VP superior to the 2007 Pisca VP? Would you say that there is a significant difference in potential? Or is it just a question of different style/philosophy?

BTW: 1992 Niepoort VP was my first Vintage Port in my cellar [cheers.gif] .

Viele Grüße
Michael
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Re: DIRK NIEPOORT IS HERE THIS WEEK AS OUR HOST

Postby Rob C. » Tue May 04, 2010 2:01 pm

Dirk,

On Thursday night, a few friends and I plan to conduct a "UK election year" vertical tasting as we await the results of our general election.

Although Niepoort is just about the only house I can think of for which we could get a full vertical of quality port (using Colheitas for '74 and '79, the Secundum for '01 and VPs for '70, '83, '87, '92, '97 and '05), we thought this a bit ambitious for a weekday and plan to choose just one of these for a more modest mixed line-up with other producers.

Out of the '87, '92 and '97 Niepoort VPs, which do you think would be drinking best right now, or are any of those vintages best avoided for the moment (eg: because one of those wines has a much greater potential to develop than the others or is in a closed phase)?

I'd also be intrigued to know whether there are any plans over the next 5 years or so to release a garrafeira port and what is your criteria for deciding that it is the right time? [EDIT: sorry, posted in wrong place initially and i see that there has already been a lot of interest in this topic up-thread!]

Many thanks!
Rob
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby Marc J.     » Tue May 04, 2010 5:18 pm

Welcome Dirk,

I'm a big fan of both Niepoort VPs & colheitas (although I have not had the chance to try a garrafeira as of yet). I was wondering what your thoughts might be concerning the future of the Port industry. Recently there has been a movement by other Port shipping firms to introduce new products into the marketplace (presumably to gain market share) and a result the number Port options available to consumers has become much broader. Do you think that diversity in product offerings is the key to growth in the near term? Thanks!

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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby dirk niepoort » Wed May 05, 2010 7:36 am

Hi Dirk,
I love your wines (both the Ports and the Douro) and would love to know more about what makes three of your rarest wines so unique and special - the vineyard, vinifictaion, etc. The three wines are:

Redoma Branco Reserva
Charme
Robustus

Thanks in advance!
-Dave-
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dear dave,


I´m glad that you like our wines.

about them:
Redoma Branco Reserva
Charme
Robustus


redoma branco reserva is a selction of the best barrels of the white wines that are fermented in barrique. but in fact what makes the real difference is the "coincidence" that the best barrels happen to almos always come from the same very old vineyards.
they are 6 veneyards that are over 100 years old. 3 are on granitic soils (quite tiny vineyards) at high altitutde and 3 are on xiste.
what is interesting is that the granite wines seems to help the xist wines to show their xiste soil.
the winemaking is very basic:
pressing, debourbage (letting the must sit in a cool tank over night ) and racking into the barriques. it starts fermenting when it wants and the wine is kept on its lees until it is bottled. very simple - nothing added except some So2 after the fermentation.


charme
the grapes are from the pinhao valley and picked fairly early, fermented in lagare, foodtrodden and 100 % with the stems.the must is pressed quite early (not too long on the skins) and finishes the fermentation in barriques. it is racked only once after ml and that s it.
the vines are all over 80 years old and very low yields
the incredible lightness of being


robustus
it is basically made from similar vineyards as redoma and batuta. a fairly powerfull wine aged for 4 years in old big barrels (2 000 liter + - )
because of the long aging the wine looses some fruit but gains sexy tanins. it is a sort of dinosaure style wine that hardly exists these days but great fun to drink and will age very very well.
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby dirk niepoort » Wed May 05, 2010 7:47 am

Hi Dirk,

First I wanted to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule this week to join us. Being quite a fan of both your Douro wines and Ports I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions for you as the week progresses.

My first question is regarding Garrafeira's. Since your the only company still making this type of Port (that I know of), what challenges do you face by continuing to do so? I ask because if I recall correctly at one point I thought the IVDP had talked about doing away with the law allowing them.

Also, are you continuing to lay aside more demi-johns so your children can continue the legacy of making this rare type of Port?

And what makes a Garrafeira different from say a Colheita or Vintage Port?

Last part (told you I have plenty of questions )...being born in 1973 I have a soft spot for trying to located any Port from this vintage, which is no easy task as you know. A number of years ago I saw you had demi-johns from this vintage in your Lodge. Any plans to bottle it in the near future?

Thanks Andy Velebil Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used. William Shakespeare http://www.fortheloveofport.com
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dear andy,

it is a pleasure to be here answering all your questions. I must confess that time is really a problem for me these days and since I have been away for a while a lot of work is waiting for me. on top of that I have some nice visitors from germany here...christmann, wittman, christina fischer and and and.....

garrafeiras are really very special. I would say they are the most burgundians of the ports. elegant, persistent, fine, fresh and vibrant. they age very well.

actually the first thing I did when starting to work with my father in 1987 was to make sure that garrafeiras would go on. my father was convinced that the IVP would than stop allowing us to keep on doing it. in fact they almost stoped allowing us to do so. there were some collegues helping us . the most helpfull person was in fact peter symington who said infront of everybody that if niepoort wants to continue making it it is our (of the trade) responsability to make it possible to continue making it. if niepoort makes it , it must be good. I was very flaterred by his standing up and saying these nice words.

we bottled less than 1 000 bts of the garrafeira 1977 about 4 years ago and will release it eventually this year or next year. it is a fantasic port. very very unusual and fine.
the next one will be the garrafeira 1987 which we will eventually bottle in 5 to 10 years (into the regular bottle). it is aging well and gracefully in the demijons right now.

conserning the 1973 let me know when you are planing to visit us and we will taste it....

regards
dirk
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Re: Dirk Niepoort - May's Forum Guest Corner Host

Postby dirk niepoort » Wed May 05, 2010 8:01 am

Hi Dirk,
DEAR GLENN,

What is it about Niepoort Colheitas that allows them to age so beautifully after being bottled? Conventional wisdom says that tawnies should be consumed as soon as possible after bottling, but I find that many Colheitas - yours in particular - age very nicely and can even improve. Is there some key step that you do differently than everyone else, or is it just a stylistic difference? i CLEARLY THING THAT WHAT MATTERS IS THE WINE. IF THE WINE IS GOOD IT WILL AGE VERY WELL. AGAINST CONVENTIONAL WISDOM AS YOU SAY WE THINK THAT OUR WINES GET BETTER (DIFFERENT) WITH SOME BOTTLE AGE.
BAISICALLY PORTS AS THEY AGE IN WOOD GETT MORE CONCENTRATION, BIGGNES, MORE VOLATILITY (VERY IMPORTANT FOR THE BALANCE), AND SWEETER.
BAISICALLY TAWNYS THAT ARE KEPT IN BOTTLE FOR A LONGER PERIOT GET SHARPER (MORE AUSTERE AND MORE PRECISION...THE OPOSITE OF FATTER AND BIGGER) AND FRUITIER (REDUCTION). i like to call it bottle sickness which is exactly what i LOVE.
THE BEST EXAMPLE FOR ME IS A COLHEITA 1935 BOTTLED IN 1972 AND DRUNK TODAY. NHAM NHAM

Second question... since you are one of the few producers who still makes them (possibly the only producer?), can you explain the difference in style between a Vintage Port and a Garrafeira? I would wager that most of us here have never had a Garrafeira, though your 1964 is one of my holy grails. How would we expect them to differ from a Vintage Port in sight, smell, and taste? (I assume that a comparison to Vintage Port would be closer than a comparison to Colheita, correct?)

GARRAFEIRAS ARE PORTS OF A EXTREME ELEGANCE. THE 1964 IS NOT A STUNNING BOTTLE OF PORT BUT IT IS AMAZINGLY GOOD TO DRINK (1964 WAS PARTICULARLY GOOD FOR PEOPLE MORE THAN FOR THE WINES.....i was born in 64 but produced in 1963 (as my birthday is in march).
garrafeiras are lower in colour than the vintage but usually have a beautifull fresh colour. in the nose the garrafeiras usually have vibrant red fruits junping out of the glas. the tanins are less than in vintage but firm and vibrating. the aftertaste is less brutal but very very long and fine. it gives you the feeling that you have to drink more and more...

Thanks for taking the time to be with us this week and answer our questions. I hope to some day meet you in person, but until then I'll just keep enjoying your Ports! HOPE TO SEE YOU SOONER THAN LATER

dirk


dear glenn,
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