Niepoort Vertente Tinto 2016
The 2016 Vertente is a field blend aged for 20 months in 80% used French barriques. It comes in at 12.5% alcohol. This is glorious, an important value point in Niepoort's often pricey lineup. It shows respectable concentration—it's not quite the entry-level red but not the high-end Tinto either. The concentration is subtle—it's never jammy—but it is rather concentrated, maybe more than last year's version. Its freshness and tightly wound demeanor are both impressive. The fruit is beautifully lifted on the palate, and this seems enlivening all the while it is open. This is a great food wine that tastes great too. You can approach this young, because the tannins are very ripe, but giving it at least six months would help. Niepoort suggested that this could easily age for 15 years or more. The structure certainly will support it.
Ripe red berry and cherry notes reveal a licorice edge in this full-bodied red, with floral and spice detail coming in on the tannic finish. Drink now through 2020. 5,500 cases made.