Few wines have redefined the meaning of fine wine in Portugal quite like the red and white offerings from Dirk Niepoort’s Quinta de Baixo estate. Philosophically rooted in the past, these wine’s are illuminating the future possibilities of fine wine in Bairrada. Today I caught up with Dirk Niepoort in London to taste and talk new vintages.
Quinta de Baixo Vinhas Velhas is the result of combining the varieties Maria Gomes and Bical from century-old vineyards situated on a wonderful limestone terroir.
These exceptional old vine vineyards give rise to wines naturally very high in acidity with a pH below 3.0. The wines are fermented in 1000 litres Mosel fuders that are over 60 years old. The wine is then bottled with very low sulphur additions and no filtration or fining.
Quinta de Baixo Vinhas Velhas 2015, Bairrada, 11.5 Abv.
Sophistication personified, but this is also a wine made with the most honest, natural intensions possible. Perhaps that is the root of its greatness. Beautifully expressive and intense, unfurling delicious aromatic notes of pear purée, nutty almond skins, green apple, dried baking herbs and a wonderful underlay of white citrus, lemon rind and pithy, stony, gravelly limestone minerality. The palate is very finely poised, perfectly balanced, where the incredible concentration and acid intensity is balanced by piecing stone fruits and a saline, briney depth. This is undoubtedly a profound Bairrada white wine, which based on this showing, it has acquired an extra confidence and complexity, but most impressively, a sense of true vinous grandeur. It stimulates the senses and leaves you quite speechless. A massive vinous triumph for Dirk Niepoort.
(Fine Wine Safari: 97/100 Greg Sherwood MW)