Porto, Portugal
At a Glance
  • At the helm is Dirk Niepoort one of Portugal’s most visionary winemakers.
  • The Colheitas (vintage tawny) – are second to none.
  • The Nogueira family – now in its 5th generation – have been the master blenders of the port wines since the beginning with all that knowledge passed on from generation to generation.
  • The 5th generation of the Nogueiras is Rodrigo.
  • Nick Delaforce is the port wine winemaker
  • Most of the fruit for the port wines is purchased from top growers in the Pinhao Valley who have had contracts with Niepoort for over 100 years.

Dirk was born in 1964 to a traditional Port family that has been in business since 1842. The first wine Dirk participated in making was the Niepoort Vintage Porto of 1987.  

The Port wines continue to remain a passion of Niepoort even though Dirk has expanded to other areas (Douro dry wines, Bairrada, Dao, etc.). The connected relationship with the Nogueira family and the Niepoort family that was started in 1842 continues today. The Nogueiras have always managed the Port aging cellars and the blends of the Ports in Gaia. Today the 5th generation, Rodrigo Nogueira continues that mantle. The wine for the ports is made from grapes in the Pinhao Valley of the Cima Corgo. Nick Delaforce leads the winemaking using traditional practices at their winery Napoles.

The wines of the harvest remain in Napoles until the spring of the next year. At that point, the wines move to Gaia where a first decision is made by a committee of Rodrigo Nogueira, Dirk Niepoort, Nick Delaforce, and others. That decision is whether the various wines will age as a Ruby or a Tawny. In general, the wines with more freshness, greener hints, and spice will go to the Ruby side. This side includes Ruby, LBV, and Vintage wines. The wines with more fruit structure and firmer tannins tend to get selected for the Tawny side and oxidative aging. The wines created from the Tawny side are: Tawny, Tawny with year designate (10 year, 20 year, etc), and Colheitas (vintage tawny wines).

The cellars in Gaia are very old and very cool. The wines age here very gracefully and the Colheitas produced by Niepoort are unparalleled.

As of today, 2022, there are only 3 family-owned port producers left and Niepoort is one of them.