Goblet of white wine on wooden table on wooden wall background. Fotalia

A top Bairrada white from Niepoort

VV, standing for Vinhas Velhas (old vines) and made from the traditional Bairrada white grapes Bical and Maria Gomes, is the premium white of Niepoort’s Quinta de Baixo winery in the heart of the Bairrada wine region at Cordinhã, near Cantanhede.

Dirk Niepoort, whose family have been making wine in the Douro since the 1800s, is best known as one of the leading Douro producers, but, over recent years, he has made numerous incursions into other parts of Portugal. The reds he produces at this same estate in Bairrada, Lagar de Baixo and Poeirinho, are two outstanding examples of Baga in the modern (think Pinot Noir) style and this white is no less impressive.

The wine is fermented and aged for 20 months in 60-year-old 1,000-litre Fuder oak barrels from Germany, whilst the vines from which it is made are over 80 years old. And this bottle that I picked up at Apolónia, whilst it was on special offer last week reduced from €29.95 to €23.95, is from the 2013 vintage so has enjoyed a good few years of bottle ageing.

But despite all this age, what we have here is a wine of great freshness and considerable complexity. On the nose there are notes of white flowers and candied lemons, smooth and structured in the mouth with excellent acidity. This is a great expression of white Bairrada at the highest level, worth every cent even at the usual price.

patrick.stuart@open-media.net