These three Portuguese wines are sheer heaven
2015 Niepoort This series of Niepoort wines left Matthew Jukes reeling with delight.
2015 Niepoort,VV Vinhas VelhasBranco, Bairrada, Portugal£42.99, Handford Wines, 020-7589 6113,handford.net
I am a fan of the wines from the legendary Niepoort portfolio, but I have always felt that the wines stopped just short of genuine excellence. Everything changed at the annual Wines of Portugal tasting, where a series of Niepoort wines left me reeling with delight. I have three for you.
First, VV Branco, a white made from 100-year-old Maria Gomes and bical vines. On account of the high acid in these grapes, the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in 1,000-litre foudres, which were sourced from the Mosel more than 60 years ago. With only 11.5% alcohol, a truly ethereal flavour and so much complexity and beauty in the glass, this is one of the lightest and most mesmerising white winesI have ever tasted.
The 2015 Poeirinho, Bairrada (about £40, theatreofwine.com, drinkmonger.com) is a red made from the baga grape. Pale in colour, low in alcohol (11.5%), hypnotic and weightless, it makes the slenderest of pinot noirs look like it needs to get on a treadmill. Drink it slightly chilled.
Lastly, 2016 Tiara, Douro (£23.99, lewisandcooper.co.uk; 01609-772880) is made from 60-year-old-plus vines, cdega do larinho is the predominant grape variety and the vineyards are situated at 600 metres above sea level in the Douro. Juicy and floral, this is a relatively generous white and yet, again, the beauty here is undeniable. All three wines are sheer heaven.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)