jueves, 7 de marzo de 2013

Niepoort Bioma Tinto, Douro 2010


"Niepoort Bioma Tinto has a dark ruby colour. The aroma is full of character with wild berry fruit aromas and dark plum and cherry notes, together with fresh herbaceous notes. Strong mineral character with wet stone aromas. The palate is firm, supported by a good acidity and great tannic structure. Very fresh with pure fruit flavor and mineral earthy notes. Very long and persistent aftertaste". farehamwinecellar

"And then there’s the Niepoort Bioma 2010, the first vintage of this wine, which is about as close Dirk gets to a single-vineyard wine. It’s all from his Napoles quinta, and it’s just so fresh, pure and inviting, with a fair whack of structure hiding under the ripe fruit. Fresh and pure, and with the potential to age beautifully. It sits about the same level as Redoma in terms of price (may be a little cheaper?), and it’s lovely." Jamie Good, Wine Anorak

- Winery: Niepoort Vinhos is a family company now in its fifth generation and presently managed by Dirk Niepoort. Despite being the second smallest Port shippers in the trade they are second to none in quality. After establishing Niepoort as one of the best Port Houses, Dirk has now set about making some of the best and most interesting Douro wines.

- Wine information: Niepoort Bioma 2010 is the first release of this wine. It is made entirely from grapes sourced from Niepoort's Quinta de Napoles which is managed according to organic practices and is currently undergoing the process of certification. The grapes for Niepoort Bioma Tinto are from younger vines (only 20 year old) and the wine is aged in large, old wooden oak vats that have been previously used to store Port wine. The idea is to produce a very pure, fruity wine without much oak character but with elegant and firm tannins. The grapes were hand harvested and after pressing the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and then ageing in 5000 litre and 2000 litre old wood casks for 12 months. The wine is a blend of Tinta Amarela, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Sousão and Touriga Nacional.

- Price: £15.50


The Portuguese Red Blend is a flexible term used to describe the numerous and varied compositions of blended red wines made from indigenous Portuguese grape varieties. Portugal is famous for the fortified port wines of Douro. but also notorious for having hundreds of different grape varieties planted within its borders.

It used to be said that even Portuguese growers didn't know what they had planted in their vineyards. This may still hold an element of truth, but since Portugal's entry to the European Union in 1986, the country has undergone a huge viticultural revolution. This has included systematically identifying the varieties and clones grown in each vineyard, and focusing attention on those grapes better suited to producing more quality wine.

Varieties such as Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz (Portugal's name for Tempranillo are relatively well known and frequently produced as varietal wines, although blended red wines are much more common. The workhorse varieties Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca are typically joined by any number of regional specialties such as Castelao, Sousao, Trincadeira das Pratas, Baga, Alfrocheiro Preto and many others. The international varieties Cabernet Sauvianon and Syrah are also included in red wine blends with increasing frequency.

Traditionally, these wines have been labeled according to the region in which they were grown, rather than the varietal composition of their contents. However, blending practices in Portuguese wine are not as overwhelmingly complex as they once were and modern labeling conventions have helped to demystify the country's winemaking. Wines that were at one time simply labeled Douro or Dao will now often contain some text on the rear label explaining the bottle's composition and proportions to the consumer.


Douro is a Portuguese wine region centered on the Douro River in the Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro region. It is sometimes referred to as the Alto Douro (upper Douro), as it is located some distance upstream from Porto, sheltered by mountain ranges from coastal influence. The region has Portugal's highest wine classification as a Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC). While the region is associated primarily with Port wine production, the Douro produces just as much table wine (non-fortified wines) as it does fortified wine. The non-fortified wines are typically referred to as "Douro wines".

The style of wines produced in the Douro range from light, Bordeaux style claret to rich Burgundian style wines aged in new oak.

- Geography and climate: The Douro wine region is situated around the Douro river valley and lower vallies of its tributaries Varosa, Corgo, Távora, Torto, and Pinhão. The region is sheltered from Atlantic winds by the Marão and Montemuro mountains and has a continental climate, with hot and dry summers and cold winters.

It is usually subdivided into three subregions, from the west to the east:
- Baixo Corgo ("below Corgo"), a subregion with the mildest climate and most precipitation. It has 14,000 hectares (35,000 acres) of vineyards. Although it is the subregion which was planted first, in general, it is considered to give wines of lesser quality than the other two subregions.
- Cima Corgo ("above Corgo") is the largest subregion with 19,000 hectares (47,000 acres) of vineyards, centered around the village of Pinhão, and where the majority of the famous Quintas are located.
- Douro Superior ("upper Douro") is the hottest and driest of the subregions, and stretches all the way to the Spanish border. It has 8,700 hectares (21,000 acres) of vineyards and is the source of many wines of very good quality. As it is the least accessible of the three subregions, it is the most recently planted, and it is still expanding.

Terraced vineyards are very common in the Douro region. Vineyards dedicated to Port production are usually planted on schist while areas with granite-based soils are used for table wine production.

- Grapes: The principal grape varieties of the Douro region include the black grapes Bastardo, Mourisco Tinto, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cao, Tinta Roriz (the same as Spain's Tempranillo), Touriga Francesa and Touriga Nacional, and the white grapes Donzelinho Branco, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato, and Viosinho.

A large number of grape varieties are grown in the Douro region, most of them local Portuguese grapes. For a long time, the grape varieties grown in the Douro were not very well studied. Vineyards of mixed plantation were the norm, and most of the time, the vineyard owners didn't know which grape varieties they were growing. A pioneering effort were made in the 1970s which identified Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Cão and Tinta Barroca as the prime dark-skinned grape varieties. Tinta Amarela and the teinturier Sousão has later come to be included among the varieties that attract the most interest. This work was important for creating the new wave of top Douro wines and has also led to a greater focus on the grape varieties that go into Port wine. Most top quintas now replant with single-variety vineyards and focus on a limited number of varieties, but older, mixed vineyards will remain in production for many decades to come.

- History: There is archaeological evidence for winemaking in the region dating from the end of the Western Roman Empire, during the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, although grape seeds have also been found at older archaeological sites. In Medieval times from the mid-12th century, Cistercians had an important influence on winemaking in the region, through their three monasteries Salzedas, São João de Tarouca and São Pedro das Águias.

In the 17th century, the region's vineyards expanded, and the earliest known mention of "Port wine" dates from 1675. The Methuen Treaty between Portugal and England in 1703, and the subsequent establishment of many British Port lodges in Porto meant that Port wine became the primary product of the region, and it became economically very important to Portugal. As part of the regulation of the production and trade of this valuable commodity, a royal Portuguese charter of 10 September 1756 defined the production region for Port wine. It thus became the world's first wine region to have a formal demarcation. The vineyards covered by this demaraction were situated in the western part of the present region. Later, the vineyards have progressively expanded to the east into hotter and drier areas.

Douro was not spared from the vine diseases of the 19th century. Powdery mildew (oidium) struck in 1852 and Phylloxera in 1863.

While table wine has always been produced in the region, for a long time little of it was seen outside the region itself. The Port lodges were focused on the production and export of Port wine, which was their unique product on the export market, and had little interest in other wine styles. Thus, while the wines could be good, for a long time, there was no attempt to use Douro grapes to produce more ambitious table wine. The person credited with creating the first ambitious Douro wine is Fernando Nicolau de Almeida, who worked as an oenologist with the Port house Ferreira. He visited Bordeaux during World War II, which gave him inspiration for creating a top-quality table wine. The wine Barca Velha, first produced in 1952 using grapes from Quinta do Vale de Meão situated in the Douro Superior subregion, was the result. Barca Velha didn't immediately get many followers, since most Port wine houses remained uninterested in non-fortified wines for a long time. A few more ambitious Douro wines made their appearance from the 1970s, but it was not until the 1990s when a large number of wines made their appearance. A contributing factor was Portugal's entry into the European Economic Community in 1986, which meant that the Port lodges' monopoly was abolished, thus paving the way for producers in the Douro valley to produce and bottle their own wine - Port or dry Douro wines. At this stage, several Port houses also introduced Douro wines into their range.

The Douro winemaking region was declared a World Heritage Site in 2001.

References: farehamwinecellar and wine-searcher

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