2015 Niepoort, VV Vinhas Velhas Branco, 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 wines I 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, códega 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)