From €5.75, 12.50 Swiss francs, £11.95
I do try not to be repetitive, and I know that I also recommended the 2011 vintage of this wonderful wine as a wine of the week in August 2012. But the sheer quality of the 2012 version of this relatively inexpensive Portuguese white moves me to nominate it as this week's best buy - by a mile.
I actually think there must have been some mistake. The white 2012 is so much more enjoyable than the red 2012 (which I still find rather unfriendly, much preferring the red 2011), I do wonder whether wine that was meant to go into some superior white bottling found its way into this 'entry level' version. The only problem is identifying it. This is the wine so delightfully called Drink Me in the UK, but it has a different name, and different label usually along the lines illustrated here, in virtually every other country, as per the list below.
UK Drink Me
Belgium Allez Santé
Holland Gestolen Fiets
Estonia Öö ja Päev
Spain Alonso Quijano
South Africa Ubuntu
Japan Eto carta
The 2012 white was tasting even better earlier this month than it looked last September and here's what I wrote about it: 'Very complex nose - despite the supposed intention of this "casual" wine. Mouthfilling and smoky. Wonderful tension and so juicy! I feel another wine of the week coming on. This is ridiculously good and interesting. A suggestion of laurel leaves. Very appetising but not at all skinny. Hint of shortbread biscuits, too. Only the lack of a really long finish stops me giving this a higher score.'
As is the wont of the Douro's increasingly impressive cohort of white wines, it's a blend of local varieties, in this case mainly Códega do Larinho, Rabigato, Gouveio, Doña Branca, Viosinho and Bical for starters, and the result is just so damned interesting. Full bodied but not fat. Just 13% and with quite enough freshness to make it possible to drink with or without food. The unusually detailed tech spec is here and indicates that the vineyards that supplied this wine were very high - 550-700m altitude - and that a quarter of the wine was aged in oak.
If you put 'Niepoort Branco' (branco being Portuguese for white) and '2012' into wine-searcher.com you will find pages of recommended retailers all over Europe. If you know the name of the blend in your particular market then of course you could add that. But for our Find this wine link there is no point in being more specific because of all those different names. It is only once you reach the considerably more expensive Redoma in those price listings that you will have run out of retailers of this wine of the week. There are many UK retailers selling it from £11.95 a bottle, including the online specialist Slurp.co.uk, which is offering it at £12.95.
Unfortunately the 2012s are yet to have reached the US, but American readers can enjoy instead either Niepoort Twisted 2011 Douro Branco, my August 2012 wine of the week, or its delicious red counterpart Niepoort Twisted 2011 Douro Tinto, made in that super-blessed vintage 2011 (see Douro table wines - better than ever).
There are links to buy my three recommended combos below.