“Rabigato, Viosinho and Côdega do Larinho, average age > 80 years, on mica schist. Spontaneous fermentation, malo and one year in 300- and 500-litre barrels. pH 3.16, TA 6 g/l.
As the name predicts, this has a definite but not excessive reductive character, more smoky-mineral than struck match. Fabulous depth of fruit, rounded, generous texture and still showing utter purity and freshness. The reductive character is perfectly judged, not overwhelming the fruit and enhancing the mineral character. Mouth-wateringly long and salty finish. Just makes you want to take the next sip. Glorious. I didn’t taste the the 2016 but I think this is even better than the 2015. Hats off to the Niepoort team. It might seem a crime to drink it so young when it is likely to gain in complexity but it is already delicious. Drink: 2020-2030. 18.5 points”
“The 2015 Redoma Reserva Branco is a field blend from old vines that were aged for nine months in 30% new French oak (the remaining barrels of varying ages). It comes in at 12.5% alcohol. This adds a couple of layers of depth to the regular Redoma Branco, more power and, of course, more oak. However, this will have a long aging curve and it should easily pull it in. In fact, it is becoming well integrated even now. Underneath, you get fine acidity and it drinks beautifully, but it will acquire more complexity and harmony in a few years. This, unlike the regular Redoma, really needs food. Don’t treat it as a porch-sipper and don’t drink it too cold. Drink: 2017-2033. 94 points
Part of this new issue is assessing the new 2016 Branco vintage. In terms of whites, Niepoort said he was not sure which he preferred, leaning to the 2016s, but he preferred 2015 in both reds and ports. (Granting that everyone’s terroir is different and different picking decisions may color views, too, I lean to the 2015s overall.) Although many of these were not yet bottled, it looks to me like 2015 is one of Niepoort’s best vintages in Tintos. The Ports weren’t too shabby, either—those are separately reviewed this issue. They are among the stars of the vintage.
This issue also includes wines from many of Niepoort’s terroirs—he is rapidly spreading through Portugal and popping up everywhere. To my mind, his Bairrada project just might be the best segment of his table wines these days (separately listed as Quinta de Baixo), assuming you like that low-alcohol, tannic and crisp style (nothing fat and sweet there). Increasingly, incidentally, Niepoort is releasing the wines a year later and holding them a bit longer in tank or bottle to make the wines more age-worthy and a little more austere, essentially calming the fruit.”