In The Glass: Niepoort Nat’cool Tinto 2017
by Miquel Hudin | 13-04-2020 | 5 Comments
While the Niepoort name had piqued interest to buy this wine online, once it arrived, the presentation was a bit perplexing. The one liter bottle format was solid and welcome (Elisabeta Foradori does a similar send up with “Unlitro”) but it had a lip as if for a crowncap. Then, the name, “Natcool” made me think that a cork had been mistakenly put into what was actually a pétillant naturel and, outside of summer with the vermut hour, when do you open one of those? And don’t think me an idiot just because it’s from the Bairrada DOP and it “simply couldn’t” be a sparkling wine as, like many of the Portuguese DOPs, that is indeed allowed.
So there it sat in the cellar until one evening, a unanimous decision of, “Sure” was reached. And then… no fizz was found and in fact, it’s very much like “Unlitro” in that it’s an easy-to-drink red with balanced tannins and acidity that goes down a charm, helped a great deal by the chill 12% ABV (2018 is only 11.5%!) If that all sounds appealing, then there’s also the white option as well.
Is this wine a big point getter? Nope. Is it dirt cheap? Not dirt, but I’d say that it’s good value for an “essentially organic” wine. Is it a great wine to drink pretty much any time you want a wine, not have to think about it, and yet have your wine thirst sated? Most definitely.
It’s this last point that’s really brings it all home as I often find myself not wanting to drink my “fancy” wines as “fancy” moments are admittedly rare. But I like wine and often, so what do you drink? This.
It’s made with carbonic maceration which, in this case works to soften up the often big, boisterous tannins of the Baga grape. Sure, the wine qualifies as “natural” given that it has less than 60g/l of SO2 and is made with spontaneous fermentation–although if carbonic maceration was done, then isn’t this “manipulation”? I don’t understand all these religious points of “natural” at times, but what I do understand is that this is an infinitely drinkable wine that will pretty much appeal to anyone who likes wine. Hell, maybe even a few who don’t!