Niepoort Charme 2006
Niepoort Charme is Dirk Niepoort’s homage to red Burgundy and, as this article reveals, La Tache in particular. The challenge Dirk faced was to make a aromatic, fine red wine in the hot Douro valley. To achieve this Dirk picks the grapes early and does not de-stem the grapes. The grapes (a blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and other Douro varieties) are foot trodden in lagares and, following a discussion with Barolo Producer Elio Altare, the wine only undergoes a short maceration. The inaugural 2000 vintage underwent malocatic fermentation in 100% new US oak barrels followed by racking into more of the same. This was a one-off however. The 2006 Niepoort Charme underwent a short maceration in the lagare before fermentation and racking off into French oak barrels where is was aged for 19 months. I notice that more recent vintages are only aged for 14 months.
Niepoort Charme 2006 Tasting Notes
Niepoort Charme 2006 has a good, clear moderate reddish brown colour with pale rim. It looks older than one might think for wine a Douro wine from 2006. On the nose there are floral (perhaps rose) notes, vanilla, sweet cherry and berry red fruit with underlying hints of toasty oak in the background. The palate is soft, silky and very pure. There are some slightly resinous flavours detectable, with pure red fruit, a touch of oak that could perhaps do with a bit more time to integrate fully but the tannins are softening up nicely and there is great freshness and purity. There is a nice touch of sweetness on the end of the pretty lengthy palate. 18/20 06/04/13
Niepoort Charme is a great wine, whilst I was tasting it I was thinking about the fact that it is an homage to Grand Cru Burgundy but, to me, I would almost err towards describing it as a Portuguese Barolo. However, it is perhaps a bit sweeter than a Barolo and has some Burgundian characteristic. So a real mix! Certainly if you are looking to try a wine with finesse and elegance from the Douro, I would start here.