(2019) From magnum. The hottest year since 1962, but also rainy which helped soils in water deficit. Dry September suited Chardonnay in particular. 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, disgorged December 2018 with 8g/l dosage. Quite a glowing golden tinge to this. Rounded, arguably slightly more attenuated, not the direct creamy elegance of the 1989, but has fine biscuity character, a yellow plum fruitiness, but the palate stretches with the rounded, sweet fruit mid-palate and again very good acid balance. Long and shimmering, though the 1989 wins for its exquisite length and balance. Stockist at time of review is for 75cl and not the same disgorgement.
(2019) 2015 experienced a sunny and dry growing season, the hot summer mitigated by intense August rainfalls that provided ideal conditions for uniform, stress-free ripening. A blend of Sangiovese and Merlot with a yield of 35 hl/ha, and aged 24 months in barriques, 85% of which were new. A robust, firm character on the nose, plenty of polished oak, dark and liquorice character. The tannins are firm and very grippy at this stage, a big structural wine, the tannin and acid framework a touch angular right now, though softening notes or spices and obvious fruit concentration suggest it would be best approached in another five years perhaps.
(2019) Mostly Garganega and made in stainless steel tanks, with 40% Sauvignon Blanc which sees a little barrel fermentation. Mealy and pear fruit, an Asian pear crunch and into a limpid, mouth-filling palate, a lemon rind sense of fat and acidity. Good freshness, with a touch of exotic sweet fruit, but finishing dry.
(2019) A more mineral edge to this than the 2009, a little keener, some herbal and floral nuances. An easier vintage with easier conditions according to Mauro Soldera, with a hot summer, some rain in August, but autumn came good. It has that blood-streaked meatiness again, but a firmess here that is set against an intensely sweet core of fruit and depth of plummy, creamy structure.
(2019) From the Guedes family's Quinta da Torre estate in Monção close to the Spanish border, a region specifically renowned for Alvarinho wines, this is in a much lighter, more saline framework than the Azevedo Reserva tasted alongside, but super-fresh and bursting with personality.
(2019) From a Jeroboam! This is lot number beginning L17033 (disgorged February 2017) and is in fact the 2008 base, and the wine of the tasting. Extolling the virtues of the large format, such precise, anaerobic freshness gives us the opportunity to dive down and examine each individual facet in vivid detail. A focused, finely toasted, and painfully austere wine. This Champagne coats the palate with the sheer intensity of its underlying core of dry extract. It will need a few years in the cellar to develop some creaminess and further complexity, and to move beyond the smoky (reductive), bitter stone fruit flavours. Currently at 91/100, wait until 2023 for the 95/100 experience. Drink until 2033. At time of review, the Jeroboam in stock is on 2006 base.
(2018) This is the only wine that see 100% new oak, all French and all small barrels. 100% Gin Gin fruit is given some skin contact, with some barrels fermented with wild yeasts, others inoculated, spending a further 11 months in barrel, Lovely delicate perfume here, gentle creamy and almond oak influence, a touch of mint. The palate has ripe fruit in a nice mid point between sparky, juicy, tingling acid and a hint of the tropical as the fruit tightens up to mint and lime leafy juiciness.
(2017) Produced at the Quinta do Baixo estate in Bairrada, Syrah from this region is highly unusual and shows Dirk Niepoort's penchant for pushing the boundaries. And he's done that very well with this crisp and agile Syrah, fermented in traditional lagares and aged in large 2500-litre barrels. It is dry with a sense of tobacco-touched red and black berry fruits, a touch herbal and wild, before a palate where the cool finesse of the acidity and lighter tannins give it a refreshing appeal. Really a lovely rendition of Syrah.