I am a fan of the wines made by Dirk Niepoort in the Douro and elsewhere, even though I do find some of them to be overpriced. I have seen this one, strangely called Omlet, lurking on the second from top shelf at Apolónia for some time and last weekend my curiosity finally got the better of me and I decided to part with €29,95 for a bottle to enjoy with a roast kid dish we were eating at home on Sunday.
As an aside, if you have not yet tried the organic roast kid they are now selling at Apolónia, you are missing out, especially as they will sell as little as a quarter of the young kidling, which is just right for two people. Try it gently roasted, on the BBQ or even stewed – this really is a very special meat.
Anyway, back to the wine … I decided that for such a tasty Sunday lunch, I should push the boat out a little and pair it with a special wine. I was attracted to Omlet partly by the unusual name but, above all, by the fact that this is a 2010 vintage, not as good as 2011, of course, but a good enough year for Douro and a wine that has enough years of bottle-ageing to be ready for drinking.
The predominant grape here is Tinta Roriz (known as Tempranillo in Spain and Aragonês in the Alentejo), blended with Touriga Franca, Sousão and Alicante Bouchet. This is not a typical Douro blend, but all of the grapes come from old east-facing vines in the upper Douro.
The wine, in fact, is not made by Dirk Niepoort himself but is a project made in cooperation with the well-known Spanish winemaker Telmo Rodriguez. This is a wine of great depth and character but also of subtlety. The nose is quite subdued, soft berry front coming to the front with spicy and leathery notes, fully flavoured in the mouth but on the lighter side of full bodied with chocolaty tannins and a long dry finish.
A top-class Douro that appeals to those of us who appreciate more elegance as opposed to the powerful reds that are typical of the region.
Be sure to decant as this 2010 is already throwing some very fine sediment.
By Patrick Stuart