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August Wines of the Month: Niepoort Nat’Cool White Mug 2016 & a Syrian red

Niepoort Nat’Cool White Mug 2016

Niepoort regularly feature in my Wines of the Month and, once again, it’s with a new, surprising wine from their new and evolving Nat’Cool range, which you can read about in Monday’s post.  My red wine of the month was an even bigger surprise. About as off piste as it gets.  It’s from Syria and is partly what inspired me to book tickets for next month’s Conflict Cafe pop up which will focus on Syria, with a three course dinner in partnership with Ayam Zaman.  Sounds really interesting and worthwhile though, N.B., I don’t know what, if any wine, they’ll be serving!

Niepoort Nat’ Cool White Mug 2016 (Vinho Verde)

I so enjoyed my taza of this wine that, not only did I have a second ‘mug’ (no spitting here natch), but I also forgot to take any notes.  What can  say, it’s an arresting wine!  My first mug was clearer than the second – this is a cloudy, traditional style. But if you’re thinking eek, cloudy cider style of natural wine (and I must admit, I was not a fan of Niepoort’s rather stinky, reduced Clos du Crappe, so I was a bit apprehensive) worry ye not.  This surprisingly powerful, sustaining Vinho Verde has great mouthfeel, body and flavour wed to vibrant, coursing acidity.  I loved the way it cleaved saltily to the palate, as if to make sure you savour every last drop of its lip-smacking litre bottle. It begs to be drunk and enjoyed and I am reliably informed that it will be turning up on the wine list at Taberna do Mercado once it hits these shores.  Niepoort wines are imported by Raymond Reynolds.

Domaine de Bargylus Rouge 2010 (Grand Vin de Syrie)

No notes again.  This wine was served over lunch at The Factory House, Oporto and I enjoyed an animated discussion about it with Carlos Dias, fine wine connoisseur afterwards (he drinks, not collects he was keen to inform me). The Chair of Ideal Drinks hires Bordeaux consultant Pascal Chatonnet and, rightly, was convinced that this wine also had a skilled French hand at the tiller. It is a beautifully crafted, spicy, perfumed blend of Syrah (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) and Merlot (20%), with great clarity and length of velvety black berry, currant and plum fruit and purring tannins. Sumptuous (the Merlot), but animated (the Syrah), with Cabernet’s polish. It is made by another Bordeaux consultant, Stéphane Derenoncourt and wears its 15% abv very well.  £32.50 at H2Vin,  £37.95 at Twenty One Wines.
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