“Projectos Wines” include all the wines under the “Niepoort Projectos“ label, which are experiences made in Douro or Vila Nova de Gaia, but also wines made in partnership with other producers such as Doda, with Alvaro de Castro from the Dão region, OmLet produced in Douro with the Spanish winemaker Telmo Rodriguez; Ultreia produced in Douro with the Spanish winemaker Raul Perez; Muhr van der Niepoort wines, produced in Austria together with Dorli Muhr, Cape Charme and Cape Fortified produced in South Africa with Eben or Ladredo from Ribeira Sacra (Spain).
Projectos (which is the Portuguese word for projects) are experiences, very small productions, where Niepoort tries different paths to create other wines, sharing the results with the wine lovers. The first creations are uncommon for Douro: Chardonnay, Colheita Tardia (late harvest) and Riesling.
A modern old style wine.
A wine full of character, some mistakes.
Technically a disaster.
But a wine full of passion and expression.
A wild , intense nose full of reduction.
A palate “the incredible lightness of being”.
Fine, elegant and very long.
“What the hell is Clos de Crappe?”
Since the beginning, in 1917, this wine was designed to be a traditional blend of two regions, Dão and Bairrada. From Dão, the grape is Touriga Nacional and from Bairrada, Baga.
The grapes are fermented separately. The ageing takes up to 12 months in 50% new
300L french barrels and 50% used barrels (2nd year). The wine is usually released 4 years after bottling.
Dócil, called Girosol in previous editions, results from the will of producing a Vinho Verde wine that reflects its region, which is balanced and complete, basing its entire vinification in the Loureiro grape variety and in a vibrant acidity. This wine, coming from its original location, the Valley of Lima, was born in vines grown on granite soil. The aromatic profile of Loureiro grape variety is evident with a predominance of fresh floral aromas.
Inspired by an old idea of his father Rolf Niepoort, Dirk joined Alvaro de Castro to blend the “perfect wine”. The innovative approach was the union of two different wine regions Dão and Douro. The blend of the different characteristics created an impressive wine with the freshness and elegance of Dão and the concentration and fine tannins of Douro.
The first Dado was born in 2000, a blend of 50% Dão wine, from Quinta da Pellada and 50% Douro wine, from Quinta do Carril. Making the wine was actually the easiest part of the process. The challenge was to overcome all the legal problems related to the label approval. As a table wine the label could not mention: region involved , year of harvest, year of bottling, or the history of the wine...
Nevertheless, the result was a lovely perfumed wine, with raspberry fruit aromas, richness and freshness on the palate, firm tannins, bright acidity, and with a creamy feel to the whole.
Dado was produced in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004 and the distribution was limited to Portugal. Doda started in 2005 for the world market.
The constant search and willingness to learn more led Dirk Niepoort to the beautiful and impressive Galician wine region of Ribeira Sacra. With the help of a Spanish winemaker who knew well the region, a traditional vineyard, called Ladredo, was found on the slopes of River Sil. It is planted in small terraces, with stone walls and east exposure.
Mencía is the most important grape variety, with a very interesting aromatic profile, and the ability to originate wines with excellent acidity and great elegance.
Niepoort joined Equipo Navazos to elaborate a white wine, made 100% with grapes of Palomino Fino, from one of the historic Albariza vineyards, in the Spanish region of Jerez de La Frontera. The wine was produced, following the same rigorous criteria of the best winemaking techniques of two centuries ago, with grapes being fermented in bult, only with indigenous yeasts, and aged without fortification, under veil, for four to five months.
Telmo Rodriguez is a well known Spanish winemaker and producer, with experience in different wine regions of Spain. OmLet, joines the interest of Telmo in making a wine in Portugal, particularly in the Douro Valley and our permanent pursuit to try different approaches to different terroirs. The idea was to let Telmo’s gentle vinification technique to be present, so we used grapes from two old vineyards planted in Covas valley, in high altitude with East facing exposure.
Omlet was produced in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
History has taught us that Dão belongs to those places that Man has long-recognised as exceptional for producing great wines. Despite its enormous potential to produce red and white wines, it is a region that continues to stubbornly remain out of the limelight.
It is also a region that has been destroying its heritage of old vines, native grape varieties that have been practically forgotten, vineyards that are disappearing along with their owners.
António Madeira, who is French of Portuguese descent, has his roots in the foothills of the Serra da Estrela. It is in these highlands that António believes lays the heart of the Dão, the region with the greatest potential for wines for ageing, where wines are fine, fresh, austere and mineral.
Since 2010, António Madeira has been researching, the places in this sub-region, that our ancestors elected as the best for vine, those that we might call the «Grands Crus of the Dão highlands» and found a series of old vines that are distinctive because of the authenticity of their grape varieties, the characteristics and nuances of their granite soils and sun exposures.
Raul Perez is a study in contrasts. Curious. Courteous. Pensive. Gregarious. He is intensely serious about his work, but doesn't take himself too seriously. He is deeply committed to getting it right, but entirely unafraid of failure. He believes that wine is made in the vineyard, but is undeterred from trying a multitude of strategies to find that vineyard's voice.
As a winemaker, Raul's mission is to capture all potential from each site he works with. There are many talents who grew up with vines, who innovate, who study intently the world's wines and their making. Raul has this and more; an uncanny knack for knowing what a vineyard needs and how to treat that vineyard's grapes once in the winery to achieve their greatest expression.
From the friendship with Dirk and Luis the DOURO Ultreia was produced expressing the terroir of Douro and also Raúls character.
Douro Ultreia is produced since 2008 .
Em Fevereiro de 2009, João Afonso e família adquiriram uma pequena quinta de 6 hectares no Parque Natural da Serra de S. Mamede, situa-se em pleno anfiteatro da aldeia do Reguengo a uma altitude de 600 metros, olhando o Sul e o Alentejo a perder de vista. A propriedade tem 3,9 hectares de vinha muito velha (em 1932 já existia) repartidos entre parcelas de castas brancas (16) e tintas (12), todas misturadas e consociadas com olival (facto que não permite a produção de vinho Alentejo DOC).
Com a aquisição, cresceu a ideia de voltar aos velhos tempos: fazer “vinho da terra” e vendê-lo na terra. Ao mesmo tempo, havia que recuperar a propriedade muito degradada (abandonada desde 2002).
Em curso, um projecto de Agro-Turismo Ecológico, alicerçado num conceito de agricultura antiga e consociada; e a recuperação da vinha velha (inclui transplantação de cepas) e plantação de vinha nova, bisneta da vinha velha. Aos 3,9ha somam-se 0,6ha. A vinha nova não possui clones seleccionados, possui apenas castas alentejanas, algumas delas desaparecidas dos vinhedos e/ou ausentes da lista de castas do IVV e acrescenta mais 4 variedades brancas e 4 tintas às já existentes.
Biodiversidade e ecologia são os motores do projecto: o tipo de agricultura actual é biológico (certificação Ecocert) e o objectivo é praticar agricultura biodinâmica a 100% nos próximos 3 anos. Todo o trabalho agrícola – no tratamento e manutenção de solos e plantas – é manual.
Vítor Claro is one of the great Portuguese Chefs and undoubtedly one of those who devotes most care and attention to wine. In 2010, Vítor had the gall to also become a wine producer. We decided to support him, selling these very limited production unique wines with an unrivalled gastronomic profile.
The Portalegre region has always fascinated me, a person from Alentejo who is nothing like an Alentejan. Besides having tasted some wines from the area, which left me enthralled, fate decreed that a friend would have vineyards in her family right in the middle of the Serra de S. Mamede hills. After a long search, I managed to find two plots cultivated by the same farmer and with very old vines (the farmer says that his grandfather had used the term "old" to refer to the vines). The idea of Dominó is to vinify plot by plot so that the very diversified nature of this beautiful area of Portalegre can be imprinted on the wine. - Vítor Claro
The new – white – Clos de Crappe is based on the same idea we had for the first (red) Clos de Crappe. It is modern yet old-fashioned, with a lot of personality and a few serendipitous technical errors (reduction) which we ended up liking very much and which gave the Clos de Crappe its name. But what on earth is the “Clos de Crappe”?????
After several projects with various partners in the Alentejo region, Dirk Niepoort decided to literally take matters into his own hands and explore Portalegre in the Alto Alenteje region on his own. “Sempar” means “unequalled”, “unique”, “incomparable” – a name which perfectly represents the style of Niepoort’s wine philosophy: uncomplicated wines which give maximum expression to the vineyards from which they are created.
Dirk Niepoort holds great admiration for the area around Portalegre in the Alentejo region. The elegance and balance of its granite and schist soils as well as the altitude of the Serra de S. Mamede mountain range lend the wines a multifaceted acid structure which allows for great versatility.
Sempar: a unique balance between the heat of the Alentejo and the freshness of the Serra Mountains.
O Chef Ljubomir Stanisic e Dirk Niepoort são amigos de longa data e já fizeram vários projetos juntos.
Foi num dos seus encontros, quando Dirk mostrou ao seu amigo Ljubomir um vinho feito em Portalegre, na região do Alentejo, que se lançou o mote e desafio para um grande projeto SEM MANEIRAS.
Dirk, Daniel Niepoort e a cúmplice, Pisca, uniram forças com Ljubomir numa “luta” sem igual, para um resultado que mistura sotaques e sabores, aromas e ingredientes, que aproxima o copo do tacho, a faca da garrafa, e transforma a mesa num lugar ainda mais estranho – e que tanto se entranha...
Portalegre is not just an adventure anymore...
Since discovering the wonders of the terroir and climate of the Alto Alentejo and thereafter creating the two red wines Sempar and Sem Maneiras, Dirk and Daniel continue to show enthusiasm for this region and will produce more wines here – be it from its plains or its mountains.
Dirk and Daniel have clearly recognized a potential for elegant wines in Portalegre.
“The elegance and balanced interplay between granitic and schist soils as well as the high altitude of the Serra de S. Mamede lend the wines an acid structure that makes for great versatility.”
Dirk’s long-standing passion for the wines of the Mosel and its king grape, Riesling, is well-known.
It was inevitable: sooner or later Dirk had to venture to the Mosel to make his own wines. However, he would not embark on this adventure alone, but together with his eldest son Daniel as well as Phillip Kettern from the Lothar Kettern wine estate whose fantastic wines Niepoort had actually been importing to Portugal. The business was named “Fio Wines”.
The way forward was mapped out and it would not be long before the wines from this collaboration came on the market: the “Ratzelhaft”, the “Falkenberg”, the “Cabisehrnett” and lastly, the top-of-the-range “FIO”. As one would expect from someone like Dirk, these are exceptionally fine, expressive and delicate Rieslings, aged in German “foudre” barrels.