Dinner on Friday at Aubergine restaurant in Cape Town to sample various wine supplied by the ever generous Jörg Pfützner, wine consultant by profession and party animal by nature. The wines of Dirk Niepoort based in the Douro region of Portugal featured prominently, Pfützner having just returned from visiting with him.
First up, Niepoort Tiara 2005. Made from an array of indigenous varieties, the vineyards planted between 40 and 100 years ago, the wine can broadly be described as “Riesling-like”, but while it did have a remarkably fresh acidity, it also had more palate weight than Riesling.
Then Niepoort Redoma Branca Riserva 2006 next to Matassa Blanc 2006 (Tom Lubbe ex of Swartland label The Observatory involved here) from Roussillon and Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemagne 2006 on the basis that the wines would have at least some stylistic similarities. In the end, the Corton Charlemagne had way too much class for the other two wines, which were a lot more rustic. What would’ve been interesting was to put the Niepoort and Matassa up against something like Palladius from Eben Sadie or the White from Adi Badenhorst.
On to Niepoort Charme 2006 and Niepoort Voyeur 2006, two versions of the same red blend – Charme being the commercial release, Voyeur bottled but never sold on the basis that it came from barrels considered too reductive by the winemaker. Four years on from vintage, it was Voyeur that was looking in the best nick to me…
A great treat of the evening was two wines from Ribeira Sacra, a wine-growing region in Galicia, Spain: Ladreda 2008, made by Niepoort and Raul Perez El Pecado 2007. The wines were densely structured and intensely flavoured with lots of dark fruit and spice. Paired with braised lamb shoulder and aubergine potato involtini, a food and wine pairing highlight.
Evenings with Pfützner are never temperate affairs so on to yet another flight of wines, this time including Domaine Leroy Nuits St. Georges Aux Allots 1988, next to Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano 1986 next to Rinaldi Barolo 1978. The Barolo was better than the Barbaresco and the Barbaresco was better than the Burgundy. Why do Italian wines get so many less editorial relative to French?
To end the meal, Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Auslese 1999. When the clock struck midnight, it marked Pfützner’s thirty-sixth birthday and only appropriate that we had one of his beloved Rieslings in the glass to toast him. Cheers, mate.