There is a revolution happening in the Douro, and Dirk Niepoort is leading the troops. For centuries this part of Portugal has been known only for its port, but today, many of these Portuguese winemakers are beginning to make red table wines with the same grapes that have traditionally only been used for ports.
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. Since then, he took over the firm management and started making dry wines. The Niepoort house still keeps a complete line-up of Porto wines, ranging from Tawny to Colheita and Garrafeira (a tawny aged in 10L glass bottles, that only Niepoort makes), and from Ruby to Vintage. The dry wines include whites Redoma and Redoma Reserva, and reds Vertente, Redoma, Batuta, and Charmes. In addition, he is also at the head of the Lavradores project.
Wine & Spirits magazine named Dirk as one of 50 "Most Influential Winemakers of 2004," saying that "what sets Niepoort apart is his skill at building networks, pathways of communication. Over the last ten years, the Douro may have produced an increasing range of great table wine, but the wines have remained a Portuguese phenomenon. Niepoort has actively worked to raise their visibility, helping João Roseira of Quinta do Infantado to establish the annual Dão-Douro tasting, an event that brings together all the best winemakers of the two regions to taste each other's new vintage.
"Despite his varied projects...Niepoort never seems particularly stressed. His eye is still on his Niepoort wines, which only seem to get better....Dirk Niepoort has not only transformed his family's company, he's helped transform the region and the way the world thinks about wine."
Furthermore, the same magazine named Niepoort "Winery of the Year." Ray Isle wrote, "[Niepoort's] wines, while being some of the best the Douro has to offer, unfortunately haven't gotten as much attention in the US as they deserve — in part because quantities are so extraordinarily limited. But make no mistake: this is remarkable juice." less