Crazy Hatter Red wine 2018
Dão DOC, Niepoort, 750 ml
Dirk van der Niepoort's dream has long been to create wines in the microclimate of the granite-rich vineyards of the Dão. He found what he was looking for and his crazy idea in these crazy times took shape in the form of this wine: The Crazy Hatter Red! From indigenous grape varieties planted between 1940 and 1990 in the traditional blended style, this refined red wine was created: very traditional like in the good old days, to give complexity to the wines. On the nose, the red Dão presents intense dark berry aromas typical of Portugal, accompanied by gingerbread spices, rose petals, black cherries, and wild fennel. After the first sip, dark berry fruits reappear, enveloped by fine cocoa and cool herbal spice. The playful juiciness, noble tanginess, its prancing nature and velvety, silky tannin make it an elegant and finesse-rich red wine that captivates. In Crazy Hatter, Dirk Niepoort combines Mediterranean spice and charm with the freshness of the Dão. About the label: Those who have seen Niepoort know that he often wears a hat.
|Origin:||Portugal / Dão|
|Grape variety:||Touriga Nacional, Jaen, Tinta Pinheira, Alfrocheiro Preto|
|Ripening potential:||2 to 5 years|
|Serving temperature:||16 to 18 °C|
|Food pairing suggestion:||Mild Asian dishes, Saddle of lamb fillet with herb jus, Saltimbocca, Hearty stew with pulses, Hot vegetable curries, Mushroom ragout|
|Vinification:||fermentation in steel tank, fermentation at low temperatures|
|Maturation:||in cement tank|
Dirk van der Niepoort
The Touriga Nacional originally comes from the Dão, in the heart of Portugal. There is a village there named Tourigo. But it became famous in the Douro Valley, where port wine is produced. When the five best varieties were selected from the motley assortment of grapes growing in the vine terraces in the 1980s, the Touriga Nacional was the first choice. It smells of cassis, raspberry, plum, violet and liquorice, and is concentrated on the palate with supple tannins. It does well not only in port wine, but also in dry reds. Solo, the Touriga Nacional tastes almost too intense; therefore, it is usually blended with other varieties such as Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca. Developed in barriques, the wines show their full potential. In the past ten years, the cultivation area of this grape has more than doubled, and spread to the whole of Portugal.
This grape also bears the name “bastardo,” probably because its descent and parents are unknown. Its cradle, however, is suspected to be in Portugal. It certainly found its home there, with its first documentary mention in 1791.
The black grapes take time to ripen and are highly susceptible to Botrytis cinerea and powdery mildew. But if the vine is carefully and lovingly maintained, the berries yield accessible, velvety wines. Because of its intense color, the wine is often used as a cuvée partner. Despite the body and intensity of the grapes, varietal wines pressed from Alfrocheiro Preto are best drank rather quickly.
Mysterious origin, today widespread
The original Jaen variety is no longer cultivated. However, Jaen is now a synonym for Mencia.
Dão: noble crus from the highlands
The wine world eyes Dão, the Portuguese wine region in the northern foothills of the Estrela Mountains (Serra da Estrela), with greater interest with each passing year. A cool climate, sparse granite soils and first-class native varieties result in wines which brilliantly master the balancing act between fruitfulness and wholesome structure. The majority of the wines here are assemblages. The red Touriga Nacional and white Encruzado varieties in particular are guarantors for first-class wines.
Portugal – Much more than port
Situated on the southwestern tip of Europe, this country is, despite its small size, blessed with a multitude of landscapes. Austere mountains alternate with green valleys and golden beaches. Vines have thrived against this backdrop for over 4,000 years, brought to the peninsula by Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans.
Portugal has over 500 autochthonous varieties. The term derives from ancient Greek, and means roughly “of the land itself.”