Douro, Bairrada and Dão 2016 by Dirk Van Der Niepoort

Quinta de Nápoles – Batuta and Coche

2016 was an extremely unusual vintage in the Douro Valley. We experienced a harsh winter with plenty of rainfall, which raised the moisture content of the soils to levels far above average. In addition, spring brought constantly low temperatures and therefore unfavourable conditions for pollination and flowering, affecting grape development and yields. During the months of July and August, high average temperatures were recorded, whereas in September the average did not exceed 21.7 degrees Celsius.

Harvest began on 18 August and ended on 28 September. Due to the intense heat – not unusual for the Douro Valley – some vineyards experienced water stress, which had a negative impact on the ripening process. Fortunately, the much-needed rainfall on 13 September put normal ripening back on track. The North-facing and high- altitude vineyards were the first to be harvested.

In the end we were able to harvest perfectly ripened grapes which provided moderate alcohol contents as well as fresh and vibrant acidity.

The 2016 vintage gave us a 25% smaller crop in comparison to previous years. However, the grapes were of outstanding quality, with thick skins and ripe seeds. Our fermented and maturing wines are already showing wonderful complexity.

Vale de Mendiz – Charme

After a considerably wet and relatively cool growing season up until July, it appeared that the harvest would be very late, however the end of July and the month of August in the Douro were dry and hot, allowing the ripening process to catch up. In Vale de Mendiz, harvest started on 12 September, but with a certain amount of imbalance in all the vineyards in terms of fruit maturity. Heavy rainfall on 13 September meant that we had to halt grape picking but this was most useful as it allowed the grapes to reach full ripeness over the following few weeks.

Harvest carried on under fine conditions with cool nights, and the last grapes were harvested at Vale de Mendiz on 14 October. As a result of mildew, yields were down by approximately 30% in the region, but the low yields and good weather conditions concentrated the fruit. Some fine ports have certainly been made from fruit picked during the closing stages of the harvest while some interesting parcels of Charme were vinified from the early stages of the harvest. The expanded winery at Vale de Mendiz and the much improved conditions for staff certainly helped the winemaking operations to run smoothly.

Bairrada – Vinhas Vellas and Poerinho

Winter 2015/2016 was mild and relatively dry, unlike the months of April and May which brought a lot of rainfall and therefore also a need for careful and thorough vineyard maintenance.

From June onwards, temperatures increased, allowing an even ripening process.

We began testing for ripeness at the beginning of August and we observed that ripening was relatively delayed compared to previous years. We decided to start picking on 6 September, one week later than in 2015.

Harvest ended on 28 September, with a drop in yields of approximately 30%.

We consider 2016 to be a very good vintage, with excellent acidity and alcohol contents of between 11.5 % and 12.5 % vol. Everything points to us obtaining fine and elegant wines with intense colour this vintage.

Dão – Conciso

The 2016 vintage began with a mild winter and a rainy spring, with rainfall continuing through to mid-June. Due to the wet conditions there was an increased risk of disease, but thanks to the biodynamic practices employed in the vineyards, we were able to protect our vines from disease.

We began testing for ripeness at the beginning of August and we observed that ripening was relatively delayed compared to previous years. We decided to start picking on 12 September, two weeks later than in 2015.

The harvest continued until 4 October, without any rainfall occurring during this period. The grapes were healthy and showed beautiful concentration.

We consider 2016 to be a very good vintage, with excellent acidity and alcohol contents of between 11.5 % and 12.5 % vol. Everything points to us obtaining fine and elegant wines with intense colour this vintage.

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