The old museum at Vale de Mendiz was purchased by Niepoort in 2003 and converted into a winery exclusively for port. The separation into two winemaking centres is intentional, as it allows dedicated and optimized processes for ports and Douro wines.

The QUINTA DE NÁPOLES estate has about 30 hectares of vineyards. The vines are located at an altitude of 180-250 m and their age ranges from 26 to 80 years. The Quinta de Nápoles estate is located on the left bank of the River Têdo, and it is there that Niepoort produces its red, white and rosé wines. A new winery was built in 2007. It is an underground "cathedral" devoted to wine, and integrated into the terraces.

With the QUINTA DE BAIXO acquisition, in December 2012, Dirk Niepoort decided to revolutionize and convert all the project into Biodynamics. To help him with this process, a partnership was established with Andrew and Kati Lorand. They started living at Quinta de Baixo, assuming the great challenge of changing mentalities and procedures.

Harvest Report 2019 - Bairrada

The 2019 vintage brought only moderate precipitation in winter, followed by relatively low temperatures over the month of March, which led to delayed bud break.

It was a year with practically no disease pressure, therefore eliminating the need for interventions in the vineyards. A dry and extremely hot summer caused the grapes to ripen early: harvesting began as early as 26 August and ended on 26 September.

Overall it was a good year, with balanced acidity levels and more colour intensity than usual. Though the alcohol contents were slightly higher compared to previous vintages, we were able to produce wines with the freshness and elegance usually expected of the Quinta de Baixo.

Harvest Report 2019 - Dão

The 2019 vintage was a very balanced year in the Dão. Much like in the Bairrada region, the incidence of disease was very low and there was almost no need to treat the vines. The dry and extremely hot conditions in the summer caused the grapes to ripen early: harvesting began on 28 August and ended on 29 September. In our opinion, it was a good year, with balanced acidity and more colour intensity than usual. Fermentation occurred as expected, with slightly higher alcohol levels that in previous vintages, without however compromising the freshness and elegance of the wines in general. The ageing period in the barrels of the Quinta da Lomba is also contributing to this vintage’s promise of beautifully balanced wines.

Harvest Report 2019 - Douro

The 2019 viticultural year was marked by dry weather. Spring began with high temperatures, which subsequently dropped and remained low during the entire summer. Some rainfall occurred at just the right point of the vines’ growth phase, and flowering took place in excellent weather conditions, leading to medium to high yields with healthy berries. The mild days and cool nights of the month of August allowed the fruit to ripen slowly and harmoniously.

Harvesting began on 8 August, starting off with Pinot Noir, followed by the Bastardo grapes and the white varieties in the Murça area. The peak harvesting period took place during the week of 8 - 15 September, with the harvest ending on 1 October with the red grape varieties from the high-lying vineyard sites.

We consider 2019 to be an exceptional vintage for the “DO Douro” appellation, with a perfect balance between the natural acidity and sugar levels of the musts. This will result in white wines of great purity and superbly balanced red wines with excellent ageing potential.

Harvest Report 2019 - Vale de Mendiz

Following three successive small years in terms of yield, 2019 marked a return to a normal or average production. The average rainfall was not only low in the winter months but also throughout the year. The Douro and, in the case of Niepoort, the Cima Corgo sub-region were lucky as there were two compensating factors:  firstly, the summer months were unseasonably cool, and secondly, the timely rainfall on 26/27 August and some minimal rain in the 3rd week of September proved to be invaluable. As a result, an analysis of the musts showed very balanced juice with great acidity levels providing freshness and superb elegance.

At Vale de Mendiz, harvesting began on 2 September under fine conditions. The last of the grapes were picked in the first week of October. Musts required only very little adjustments. Some very fresh, elegant, acid-driven wines for the Charme have been vinified, and it will be fascinating to see how the Ports will close up over the next few cool winter months. All vintages are remembered for different unique reasons and 2019 will surely go down as a year with outstanding acid-driven musts and very cool weather, reminding one of the elegant year of 2008 – very much in line with the Niepoort style, but unusual for such a hot region as the Douro Valley.


Winter 2016/2017 was very dry in Bairrada, with a few spring rain showers at the end of April/beginning May, followed by a very dry summer. The low humidity lowered the risk of disease to practically zero, and therefore there was hardly any need for vineyard treatments. Due to the extremely dry conditions and excessive heat, the grapes ripened much earlier, and harvesting began approximately 3 weeks earlier than in the previous year, starting on 17 August and ending on 19 September.

It was a good vintage, with wines displaying a deeper colour and higher alcohol levels, but with well-balanced acidity. We could thus retain the freshness and elegance which are so characteristic of the wines of the Quinta de Baixo.


2017 was a dry year. Thanks to the low humidity, the vineyards were completely disease-free and hardly needed any treatment. However, the extremely dry conditions and excessive heat caused the grapes to ripen early. Harvesting began approximately 2 weeks earlier than in the previous year, starting on 30 August and ending on 22 September.

It was a good year, with wines displaying a deeper colour and higher alcohol levels, but with well-balanced acidity, which allowed the maintenance of the usual freshness and elegance. Fermentation took place without any problems, and currently, the wines are maturing in old wooden vats.

Quinta de Nápoles

2016 was an extremely unusual vintage in the Douro Valley. We experienced a harsh winter with plenty of rainfall, which raised the moisture content of the soils to levels far above average. In addition, spring brought constantly low temperatures and therefore unfavourable conditions for pollination and flowering, affecting grape development and yields. During the months of July and August, high average temperatures were recorded, whereas in September the average did not exceed 21.7 degrees Celsius.

Harvest began on 18 August and ended on 28 September. Due to the intense heat – not unusual for the Douro Valley – some vineyards experienced water stress, which had a negative impact on the ripening process. Fortunately, the much-needed rainfall on 13 September put normal ripening back on track. The North-facing and high- altitude vineyards were the first to be harvested.

In the end we were able to harvest perfectly ripened grapes which provided moderate alcohol contents as well as fresh and vibrant acidity.

The 2016 vintage gave us a 25% smaller crop in comparison to previous years. However, the grapes were of outstanding quality, with thick skins and ripe seeds. Our fermented and maturing wines are already showing wonderful complexity.

Vale de Mendiz

After a considerably wet and relatively cool growing season up until July, it appeared that the harvest would be very late, however the end of July and the month of August in the Douro were dry and hot, allowing the ripening process to catch up. In Vale de Mendiz, harvest started on 12 September, but with a certain amount of imbalance in all the vineyards in terms of fruit maturity. Heavy rainfall on 13 September meant that we had to halt grape picking but this was most useful as it allowed the grapes to reach full ripeness over the following few weeks.

Harvest carried on under fine conditions with cool nights, and the last grapes were harvested at Vale de Mendiz on 14 October. As a result of mildew, yields were down by approximately 30% in the region, but the low yields and good weather conditions concentrated the fruit. Some fine ports have certainly been made from fruit picked during the closing stages of the harvest while some interesting parcels of Charme were vinified from the early stages of the harvest. The expanded winery at Vale de Mendiz and the much improved conditions for staff certainly helped the winemaking operations to run smoothly.

Nicholas Delaforce, Vale de Mendiz, 18/10/16


Winter 2015/2016 was mild and relatively dry, unlike the months of April and May which brought a lot of rainfall and therefore also a need for careful and thorough vineyard maintenance.

From June onwards, temperatures increased, allowing an even ripening process.

We began testing for ripeness at the beginning of August and we observed that ripening was relatively delayed compared to previous years. We decided to start picking on 6 September, one week later than in 2015.

Harvest ended on 28 September, with a drop in yields of approximately 30%.

We consider 2016 to be a very good vintage, with excellent acidity and alcohol contents of between 11.5 % and 12.5 % vol. Everything points to us obtaining fine and elegant wines with intense colour this vintage.


The 2016 vintage began with a mild winter and a rainy spring, with rainfall continuing through to mid-June. Due to the wet conditions there was an increased risk of disease, but thanks to the biodynamic practices employed in the vineyards, we were able to protect our vines from disease.

We began testing for ripeness at the beginning of August and we observed that ripening was relatively delayed compared to previous years. We decided to start picking on 12 September, two weeks later than in 2015.

The harvest continued until 4 October, without any rainfall occurring during this period. The grapes were healthy and showed beautiful concentration.

We consider 2016 to be a very good vintage, with excellent acidity and alcohol contents of between 11.5 % and 12.5 % vol. Everything points to us obtaining fine and elegant wines with intense colour this vintage.

Quinta de Nápoles

The weather conditions of the viticultural year 2015 were very favourable, with sun, heat and low humidity, allowing a homogeneous vegetative growth.

The winter, with rain from March, has replaced a large part of water reserves in the soil. In early spring average temperatures were high and some rain completed the water replacement, allowing a balanced sprouting. After flowering in May, the veraison began in July, rather homogeneous, about two weeks earlier than in the previous year.

One of the particular features of this viticultural year was the vineyard ability to remain hydrated during ripening. In late August, early September, the basal leaves still remained green and moist, with hydrated berries and a thick, firm skin. The balance of musts, the softness of tannins, and the intense colour concentration indicate that this is an exceptional year for Doc Douro Wines.

Carlos Raposo, Tedo, 16.09.2015

Vale de Mendiz

Harvest started early in V. Mendiz on 28th August after a very hot July and August, the first grapes harvested were for Charme and for port wine in the V. Mendiz area from cooler north facing vineyards. The hotter classic port vineyards were exhibiting a certain heat stress, but with the onset of cooler nights maturity advanced in the first few weeks of September under fine conditions and the wines exhibit hard tannins and a lot of colour. Yesterday however there was an intense rain shower so we stopped picking, hopefully within a few days the weather will clear up and fine tune the remaining grapes so as to complete the harvest. At this point our top vineyards have already been harvested but we have only harvested 40% of the vineyards — time will tell — but the year shows a lot of promise so far!

Nick Delaforce, Vale de Mendiz, 16.09.2015

Quinta de Baixo

The winter 2014-15 was mild and with little rainfall, however during spring, in April and May, the rainfall was high, which led to a careful and rigorous intervention in the vineyard.

High temperatures in the following months allowed a balanced ripening.

The ripening control in early August confirmed that 2015 would be a precocious year. The harvest began on 25 August, a week earlier than the previous year and ended on 14 September, demonstrating an increase in production of close to 20%.

This year it is foreseen the continuity of wines with a balanced profile, great freshness and low alcohol content.


The winter 2014-15 was mild and with little rainfall. From early spring to mid-summer, the weather conditions with low humidity and a lot of sun gave rise to some stress in the vineyard, which eventually has stood up well to a very dry year in Dão.

In early August the ripening control showed that 2015 would be a precocious year. The harvest began on 31 August, a week earlier than the previous year.

The harvest ended on 15 September, demonstrating an increase in production of close to 40%.

The wines presented a perfect acidity, with degrees between 11,5 and 12,5, so the wines are expected to be fine, elegant and with great longevity.

Harvest Report 2015

Quinta de Nápoles

At Quinta de Nápoles, 2014 was a winegrowing year with less quantity but higher quality.

The decrease in production, which represents 20% when compared to the previous year, was not only on account of plant health reasons, but also due to “desavinho” – the natural selection that both physiologically as with certain weather conditions, affects negatively the transformation of flowers into fruits. The whole picture indicated we would have an early year due to the large amount of water accumulated during winter and spring. The maturation phase occurred early and allowed the beginning of the harvest on August 19 with Pinot Noir, followed by Bastardo. On September 7, fell 8mm of water that were beneficial for some ripening in the vineyards located in less fresh places. September, as already forecasted, was the wettest month in 80 years. Thus, at Quinta de Nápoles, we harvested most of the parcels over a period of good weather, between 7 and 21 September.

2014 will undoubtedly be a great year for white wines, with freshness, minerality and an unusual precision. The red wines are very balanced, with great freshness and a clean and fleeting fruit. Despite being early to say so, we believe it is a year of exceptional quality, with wines that will show the cooler character Douro can give.

Quinta de Nápoles 2014

Vale de Mendiz

The weather during the agricultural year of 2014 will certainly be remembered for its instability, especially in the latter stages and during the Vintage itself. If it had rained at the end of August, followed by a dry September with average temperatures - then some surely fabulous ports would have emerged; however this was not the case, but I believe with the lower yields in 2014 and less potential alcohol, some very fresh and acid driven wines (in the Niepoort style) with good colour have been made at Vale de Mendiz, before the rain started in the middle of the Vintage. Harvest at Vale de Mendiz started early, on 1st September principally with grapes from vineyards in Vale de Mendiz which supply the base of wines for Charme aswell as some superb elegantly structured ports. The first Lagar from the Pisca vineyard was harvested on 12th September with very good colour evident in the Lagar and great finesse after fortification. Ports from the old vineyards at Sibio and Bragão are also impressive and not affected by the rain. The last grapes were harvested on 2nd October, so with a small harvest quite an early finish.

Overall, some superb wines have been made and very much in the Niepoort style and the early start certainly paid off with the majority of the wines not being affected by the rain, it will be interesting to see how the wines close up over the next few months.

Vale de Mendiz 2014

Quinta de Baixo

The Winter in Bairrada was rigorous, long and with a fairly high rainfall, as had already happened in 2013. An almost non-existent Spring and a very mild Summer, with temperatures around 30°C, hinder disease control and maturation.

In the vineyard, the control of ripening began in mid-August, as is the tradition, by tasting the berries and checking the health aspect of the grapes.

The white wines harvest began the 28th August in excellent weather conditions. The days were mild and relatively humid. On the 10th September, with the appearance of heavy rainfall, the harvest was interrupted until the 16th, the date when began the picking of the red grapes. Due to the rainfall, the harvest ended up having to be accelerated to prevent the rot got settled. The harvest ended on September 23, in a very difficult year, but with an excellent acidity and alcohol levels between 11.5 and 12.5, which contributes to fine and elegant wines, with an excellent ageing potential.

Quinta de Baixo 2014


2014 was the first harvest year of Niepoort in Dão.

The two-hundred year old Quinta da Lomba, situated between two mountain ranges in Gouveia, was acquired by Niepoort earlier this year. With some effort and dedication, the winery was rebuilt and the vineyard was restructured. At the end of the growing season, the grapes were in an excellent status of health and maturation.

Unlike other regions, it didn’t rain a lot in Dão and there were weeks of hot weather with dry nights and sunny mornings, excellent conditions for the start of the harvest, that began with the white wines on 10 September, followed by the harvest of the red wines on 22 September. The harvest was short, held in ideal weather conditions and ended September 27.

Dão 2014

Quinta de Nápoles

With the exception of December and January, the 2013 viticultural year was cooler than the average of the last 30 years and the rain that fell during the winter and spring was essential to restore the water levels after several very dry winters. At Quinta de Nápoles, a total of 121 mm of rain fell in January alone. Weather conditions in April, May and June with the continued rainfall and low temperatures heavily conditioned the growing cycle, delaying it by around 2 weeks.

The temperature suddenly rose on the 21st June and remained high until the beginning of September. The harvest began on the 19th August, earlier than usual, in order to safeguard acidity levels and avoid high alcohol levels. The year was more productive, around 25% over the previous year. The decision to start harvesting earlier turned out to be the right one, since all the main vines had been harvested before heavy rain began to fall on the 27th September. Both white and red wines are extremely balanced, very fresh and with a good degree of concentration. The reds are deep in colour, revealing a year of great quality.

Vale de Mendiz

The winter of 2012/2013 was important in replenishing water levels after several dry winters. The rainfall carried on in the spring, with March registering the highest rainfall in the last 50 years; precipitation from November to the end of July (564 mm) in the Cima Corga was 1% up on the average of the last few decades. The relatively high level of rain and low temperatures until June (there was still snow on the Marão as late as May!) meant that the vegetative cycle of the vine was delayed.

The weather warmed up dramatically in the last 10 days of June and remained so until the beginning of September with thunderstorms and some light rain overnight from the 4th to 5th of September. The hot weather led to some burnt clusters on exposed vines; the harvest started on the 12th September under perfect weather conditions and the last grapes from the Pisca vineyard arrived on 26th September -just in time- before heavy rain on 27th September. It only cleared up with the return of some blue skies on 3rd October; the harvest was larger than in 2012.

Luckily the decision to start early paid off as the majority of our top vineyards were harvested before the rain on 27th September. Throughout the harvest, even in more exposed vineyards, the potential alcohol was not high and we were able to avoid overripe grapes. We have made some very fresh and elegant port wines and at this stage all the different parcels from the Pisca vineyard destined to Bioma are looking most impressive and will no doubt benefit from the coming winter months.

Quinta de Baixo

2013 was a year of great changes at Quinta de Baixo. Following the acquisition of the Quinta in December 2012, Dirk Niepoort decided to revolutionize and convert the whole project to Biodynamic. A partnership was established with the couple Andrew and Kati Lorand to assist in the process, whereby they moved into Quinta de Baixo and took on the major challenge to change mindsets and procedures.

It was a long and harsh winter, with high precipitation. Spring was almost non-existent and summer was hot with temperatures often reaching 40ºC. The harvest began on the 2nd September and despite the slight initial delay in ripening, the grapes recovered and were found to be in excellent condition. The harvest took place in exceptional weather conditions, with wide variations in temperature and the complete absence of rain.

The harvest ended on the 25th September, a day before the rain began to fall continuously for 4 days. With the wines presenting an excellent acidity and a level between 11.5 and 12.5, 2013 may be a year of excellent quality at Quinta de Baixo and in the whole Bairrada region.

2012 was a very dry year, with almost no rain during winter and Spring time. As a consequence the budburst was 15 days later than in the previous year and all the cycle was delayed. The Summer was not hot and the nights were colder than usual in the last 2 weeks of August. Yields were lower due to the lack of water in the soil and some rain during flowering and the berries smaller, less 20% to 30% when compared with 2011. We started harvest in the beginning of September. In the old vineyards the maturation was balanced, resulting in grapes with a good sugar content and a high value of malic acid, giving good PH's to the wine. Nevertheless the total acidity was lower than in the previous year. Regarding the wines, the reds show very good colors, good concentration, balanced with a good freshness. The whites have good acidity and a lower alcohol content.

The vineyard growing cycle, started very early this year, with uncommon bud burst in March, followed by a very hot and dry April. The disease pressure in the vineyard was very high during all cycle, with some of the vineyards in the “Baixo Corgo” region, being severely attacked by Mildew and black rot fungus. June was very hot causing some burned grape clusters, especially in the vineyards with Tinta Barroca variety. July was quite fresh, and although August started very hot as usually, temperatures during night and day dropped considerably from 19th onwards. Less than 20 mm of rain occurred on the 21st and 22nd of August, which was perfect to delay the maturation process and avoiding raisins. Some more rain on the first two days of September resulted in a harvest slow down. The temperatures during the day went up after the 4th of September and kept high until the end of the month.

Harvest started very early this year, on the 22nd of August, with red wines from Quinta de Nápoles, and although we never started so early, all the wines showed very good balance, with good sugar levels and high acidity, good concentration and intense dark colours. The cold nights kept the fresh fruit aromas in all wines and fermentations went slowly, which helped to an even more gentle extraction. From mid September on, sugar content on the grapes increased very fast, forcing harvest acceleration. In some of the wines we used a higher percentage of stems.

Similar to 2010 the white grapes maturation was different from the reds. The picking started on the 29th of August, with good acidity and fairly low sugar levels until very late. All wines are showing fresh fruit/flower aromas, with acidity and an intense taste.

It is a very good year for Ports, with low yields combined with very good acidity and very aromatic wines, just perfect for Port winemaking. Wines are showing very intense dark colours with fine and firm tannic structure and an exuberant aromatic profile.

Once more the fact that we're using grapes from higher altitude vineyards, searching for fresher and more elegant Douro wines, made a difference in a hot and rare year like this one. On the other hand this seems to be another classic Port year, giving very concentrated but balanced wines and promising a great ageing potential.

The 2010 harvest will surely be remembered as quite strange, because of the atypical weather conditions during all year, with a very rainy winter and totally dry and hot summer. The verasion was delayed, in some cases, for more than 2 weeks, but very hot days in August and September accelerated the maturation process and forced us to anticipate the harvest to 2nd September. A very careful and precise choice of the vineyards, deciding to pick or wait, was necessary, due to the difference of maturation between vineyards. The yields are higher than last year, known as a very low yield year. The young vineyards showed a tendency to block maturation, keeping very low sugar content and unripe tannins, while losing acidity; on the other hand the old vineyards showed a much more balanced ripening. In many cases north facing vineyards had a higher maturation than similar and hotter south facing ones.

The white wines are less aromatic than in previous years but showing good freshness and balance, with alcohol contents lower than 13º. Today (6/10) we are still harvesting white grapes with 12º potential alcohol and very good acidity.

The red wines, in general, are low in malic acid contents which will result in very fast malolactic fermentations, they are all showing good colour and structure, with good amount of tannins without being aggressive. Very good indication for the 2010's ageing potential.

In general we can only be happy with this harvest, although being a long and difficult one, it gave us austere wines but with great ageing potential.

Total rainfall in the 2008/2009 wine year was lower than the annual average between 1930 and 1960, with 731.6 mm observed at the Régua weather station (14.6% less) and 527.2 mm at the Pinhão station (20% less). The wettest month was January, with 132.2 mm measured at Pinhão and 197.2 mm at Régua. The average temperatures, on the other hand, were generally similar to those of the above-referred decades. August was, in fact, 2º C hotter than the average. This fact becomes even more important if we consider that the first eleven days of the month were relatively cool compared to the normal weather for the region.

The 2009 harvest was not easy, and it was steered by the high temperatures of August and September. The receiving capacity of the new winery was, without a doubt, a great help to make the harvest shorter and avoid the excesses arising from a harvest in hot weather. The quality of the white wines exceeded our expectations and despite some less balanced and more alcoholic red wines, we have a good quantity of great quality wines ageing, capable of producing all the labels usually bottled.

Total rainfall in the 2007/2008 wine year (from November 2007 to October 2008) was lower than the annual average between 1930 and 1960, with 671 mm observed at the Régua weather station (21% less) and 496 mm at the Pinhão station (24% less). The wettest month was April, with 143 mm measured at Pinhão and 211 mm at Régua. The next wettest months were January and May. The average temperatures, on the other hand, were generally lower than those of the above-referred decades. This was especially true for those temperatures relating to the Pinhão weather station, where the temperatures exceeded the averages used here as a reference only in January and February.

Like last year, July and August were dry and the rains in September, 4 to 6 and 21 and 22, did not impact on the quality of the harvested grapes, although they may have delayed the maturation in progress. The rainfall on 7 October may have affected the quality of some of the grapes where the presence of powdery mildew led to the breakage of some berries and consequent development of rot.

The especially cold nights of September contributed to getting red wine must of quite a dense colour and great aromatic intensity. The white wine musts obtained are especially low in alcohol content and have high total acidity.

The harvest of 2008 gave us great quality wines but much lower production quantities. Powdery mildew was the main problem to tackle this year in the management of the vineyards.

Its a frantic time of the year, but with the new winery everything is easier and more perfect. With lots of grapes, rain, with many visitors, the harvest period is a time for little sleep and a lot of confusion, yet its always sad when it finishes.

The harvest is the high point of a years work..

In terms of grape varieties, Tinta Roriz with low yields exhibited a very consistent tannin structure, being one of the first to ripen, Tinta Amarela when planted in drier areas showed great freshness and elegance. Touriga Nacional with a more balanced and gradual maturation showed itself to be more balanced without its usually aromatic exuberance, which for us is positive. Touriga Franca, the most widely planted variety in all the Douro region always showed great elegance and freshness. The conditions at harvest time were optimum allowing a harvest to evolve from the lower more exposed south/west facing areas to the higher altitudes facing south/east. The white wines show great vivacity with very even fermentations highlighting the aromatic freshness of the year.

2008 is a special year (as nearly all are). It could be said that it is a year that is the total opposite to a classic year in the Douro.Lets see:

  • It was a very humid year with a lot of rain throughout the year;

  • Rain during flowering which gave rise to some poor flowering/fruit set;

  • Many problems in general with mildew and especially with powdery mildew;

  • A Summer which during the harvest was very mild, lacking the characteristically intense heat of the Douro;

  • With very cool nights (which retains the acidity in the wine);

  • The first rain in the beginning of September at the right time and rain in the second half of September which did not fall at the right time but stopping exactly at the moment when it could have caused a big disaster (if it had rained for another two days it would have been a catastrophy);

  • And, finally a perfect year for the style of wine that Niepoort likes to make. As we made wines with very good concentration ( the fact that yields in general were very low, brings me to conclude that in the Douro there were losses of 30%), low alcohol and yet fantastic acidity.

As incredible as it may seem, it appears to us to be a great year for port.

Extraordinary colours,richly intense wines ( without being overripe), of a rare beauty and elegance and with firm and strong tannins. The harvest in Vale de Mendiz ran incredibly well. Also for Charme it appears to be a fantastic year. The whites are perfect with an exemplary balance.

Nature delivered us of the best, now , it is in our hands not to spoil it

HARVEST 2007 is an exciting year for Niepoort: After several years of very dry winters, the 2006/2007 agricultural year was different. Relatively high winter rainfall was most useful in replacing dwindling water reserves. Further rain in May led to poor fruit set and the unseasonably humid months of June and July gave rise to outbreaks of downy mildew in untreated vineyards. Due to cool weather during the month of August, early September saw maturity slightly delayed. However, warm days and the onset of cooler nights allowed maturity to reach completion by the middle of the month. At Niepoort`s historic winery in Vale de Mendiz, in the heart of Douro region, harvest started on Friday 14th of September. Apart from a brief thunderstorm on 16th of September and light showers at the end of the month, the harvest was carried out under excellent conditions. The last grapes arrived on 15th of October. Fermenting musts exhibited dark colours with spectacular purple hues and very good acid balance, thus requiring few acid additions. Stories of potentially high crop losses in untreated vineyards proved to be false, as the majority of vineyards had healthy crops. In addition, the problems with fruit set earlier in the season acted as a substitute for bunch thinning! Overall, quality of all the ports was high. The ports demonstrated some wonderfully unique and dark characteristics, especially from old vineyards in the Vale de Mendiz area. These promise to close up well over the coming winter months. Charme, a wine whose elegant style is often a challenge to make in a hot year, benefited from the cooler ripening conditions, providing freshness, acid balance and avoiding overripeness.

Quinta de Nápoles

Special year this 2007 harvest, after rainy October and November 2006, with almost 400mm of total rain, water reserves of the Douro soils were replenished. First months of the year 2007 were quite dry, although February brought good amount of rain. Although March and April add come with average quite spread along the months it was May and especially June that brought heavy rain concentrated in two days (14 and 16 June).

This weather promoted very good conditions to cryptogrammic diseases pressure all over Douro. And only with careful work in the vineyards growers could keep their vineyards protect specially against downy mildew.

Cool weather of August and good weather of September with fantastic cool nights were perfect to have a balanced maturation in all Douro vineyards. Slightly delayed, the harvest started at the brand new winery of Quinta de Nápoles, on 7 September both with red and white grapes, and went until the 12th October.

Although we had some initial doubts about the year, everything went smoothly easy, and only a thunderstorm on 16th September gave us reasons to worry with harvest conditions. All fermenting red must exhibited amazing dark purple colours with incredible acidity's not needing any acid addiction. Like in other years some of the problems with downy mildew helped in a few vineyards to reach balanced yields of perfect grapes that certainly one of the causes for such perfect musts.

Maturation of higher white grapes vineyards were delayed in one or to weeks and it was possible to harvest almost all the vines with less than 13˚ potential alcohol and fairly good acidities, giving very elegant and complex white wines, full of mineral character.

Overall it was one historical harvest for Niepoort, not only because it was the first year of the new winery, but also because 2007 is going to be remembered by its great quality only possible once or twice per decade.

In Vale de Mendiz, 2006 will be remembered for the very violent hail storm in the middle of June, which swept through vineyards with thunderstorms accompanied by intense rain and large hailstones all in the space of half an hour. The damage in vineyards was substantial and even though vineyards recovered reasonably well, the loss of quantity was evident at harvest time.

The agricultural year, yet again, was fairly dry and the summer relatively hot; a few solid showers in mid August and high temperatures, followed by unseasonally high temperatures in early September, meant maturity in the vineyard raced ahead at the beginning of the month.

Having expected to start harvest in mid September, the start date was brought forward to the 9th September so as to avoid fruit becoming over ripe. Temperatures remained high during the first two weeks of the harvest, even overnight temperatures rarely dropping below 20˚C, thus creating difficult conditions for maturity to reach completion in the vineyard. With the earlier start to vintage, the majority of the grapes were harvested before the rain which as from the 21st September fell intermittently over the following days along with a very heavy shower on the 2nd October. The last grapes were received at Vale de Mendiz on the 8th October.

Given the less than ideal weather conditions, the fermenting musts exhibited good colour and a few small parcels of very fine wines have certainly been made. From an analytical perspective the musts had high pHs and required considerable tartaric acid corrections.

It will be very interesting to taste the wines in the spring of 2007, when a better overall picture of the quality of the year will emerge.

The violent hale that occurred in the Pinhão valley and in other nearby areas didn't affect the majority of the vineyards used for Douro wines. After the last three very dry and hot years, 2006 winter was fairly good with substantial amount of water, with almost 380mm of total precipitation during all winter in Cima Corgo region.

During the vine cycle until veraison, we had a fairly hot spring but also with higher humidity, that increased the diseases present in the vineyards. The summer was quite hot with average temperatures of 23.2˚C, 26.1˚C and 25.6˚C in June, July and August respectively.

A few days of rain in middle August was perfect for grape maturations, but uncommon high temperatures during the last week of August and the two first weeks of September, not only during the day but also through the nights, forced us to bring forward the harvest to 4th September. Using higher altitude and north facing vineyards, it was possible to get quite balanced wines with fairly good pHs and sugar contents in the musts.

The Major part of harvest was done before the first rains on the 21st September, and we managed to finish the harvest before the heavy rains of October.

All the harvest was done in order to avoid over ripeness and over extraction, the fermentation was done gently, avoiding high temperatures. The final results were red wines with good alcohol content, balanced with good structure, some of them showing great potential. Strangely in the white wines the alcohol levels are not so high, showing much more discrete aromas where the mineral notes dominate overall, certainly interesting to taste during ageing in barrel.

The harvest occurred from from the 7th September until the 12th October. Following a relatively cold and a very dry winter, the growing season was also low in rainfall, hence with low humidity, the absence of diseases in the vineyard was evident. A very hot summer gave rise to vine stress which was most evident especially in hot low lying south facing vineyards leading to berry shrivel and slightly unbalanced fruit. However, a light rain shower in early September allowed fruit maturation to achieve completion. The harvest started early, with very clean fruit arriving at the Winery at Quinta de Nápoles (dedicated to Niepoort non fortified wines) and at the winery at Vale de Mendiz (dedicated to Niepoort port wines) and the sorting table, used to remove any poor fruit, also allowed us to remove berry shrivel. The weather during harvest was perfect, with no rain, warm days and cool nights. The wines showed very good colour and aroma during fermentation, with yields marginally higher than in 2004.

Quinta de Nápoles and Vale de Mendiz

Some very fine, elegant wines with good acidity have been made with a lot of personality; especially those sourced from cooler north, east facing old vineyards on higher ground exhibiting great freshness. Overall, a better picture of the wines will emerge after the malolactic fermentation, but at this stage, the wines show a lot of promise and with careful selection of fruit on receival at the winery, the wines showed concentration and balance while avoiding the overripe characters which could be expected in such a year.

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