For over 100 years, Niepoort wasn’t on anyone’s radar in the UK. That was until Rolf Niepoort, and then his son Dirk, took over the reigns. With established relationships with growers, and no vineyards of their own until the late 1980s, this family company produced some of the best vintage ports in some of the best vintages. I was fortunate to try their (apparently) outstanding 1970 vintage, but sadly the bottle I had shipped from Portugal was wrecked.
Their tawnies have long been a favourite of mine, particularly their 20 year old which I think has to be one of the greatest examples of this age of wine, but where Niepoort has a USP is their Garrafeira ports – aged in cask, then demi-john and finally in bottle. When I visited Niepoort back in 2005, there were rows upon rows of 1977 Garrafeira and I pestered the UK importer yearly to know when it was going to be released. Finally it was and I tried a bottle of this back to back with a 1952 Garrafeira… one of the best port tastings I’ve ever done.