Niepoort Nat'Cool Red Wine

It’s still gloomy out there. And there is still rain in the forecast. And its feeling more and more like we are living in Seattle! And so yesterday afternoon, in amongst a bevy of wines that various suppliers brought to the store to cheer us up and taste, there was one that just brighten everyone’s demeanor. It was such fun, with a kick-ass label and great juice to boot.

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The wine was Nat’Cool. It’s from Portugal. The grape is Baga. It’s a red wine. And its very, very cool! Here’s the background. If you live in Brooklyn and drink wine you probably started down the vin naturel path a while ago – along with all the other geeky wine nerds who want their wines to smell of farm manure, be uber cloudy, and strip the lining of their mouths off with acid. Dirk van Nierpoort wanted to cater to that crowd but wanted a wine to also cater to the 99% of other wine drinkers that don’t want to drink #@$%. Dirk is a descendant of the famed port house Niepoort that has been wine making in Portugal for over 350 years. He knows a thing or two about the land and about the grapes. And as head of one of the most influential Port Houses he also realized that Port is a bit stuffy and isn’t drunk by 99% of fun loving wine drinkers. So he set about changing that by making dry, low alcohol, low intervention wines using the same grapes that make up his ports. And a few years ago he hit on a perfect strategy – invite great wine-makers in the region to collaborate in making natural wines that people would love to drink.

Nat’Cool is naturally ‘cool and funky’. It is the culmination of this innovative concept. To be Nat’Cool the wine must be natural, low intervention with very low or zero added Sulfur. In addition, the wine must be bottled in liter sizes (Dirk wanted the wines to also be great value) and should be focused on the expression of terroir from the region. With this 2nd release Nierpoort chose the Baga grape. If you like medium bodied Nebbiolo or Pinot Noir then you will love this wine. When we tasted it yesterday everyone’s face lit up. The wine is so easy to drink, so friendly and it just keeps whispering in your ear, have another glass. Thank God it’s a liter bottle! To be more specific, the wine has great color, a lovely aroma of crushed black currants and a flavor palate that runs the gamut of rich fruit, dry acidity, great length and undertones of baking spices and cookie dough. I have not had a wine that has packed so much fun into a liter bottle in a long time. This is a wine that will dispel the rainy blues and enliven so many outdoor parties this summer. And I bought a lot of it! First round comes in today. I’ll open a bottle on Saturday for anyone in the area to taste, but for those that have come to trust my palate, I wouldn’t wait ‘till Saturday.

And because everyone loves a combo package let me also describe the white wine we tasted just before this one. From across the border in Spain and in Penedes to be more specific (home of Cava), we tried an utterly delicious Xarel-lo from Bohigas. This white wine was a great compliment to the Nat’Cool. Racing acidity that is tamed with a great bunch of white stone fruit. Absolutely not sweet but with a depth of flavor that belies its price. Like the Bocking Pinot Gris that was my summer white last year, this Bohigas will likely be my summer white in 2019.

Here’s the Combo:

3 bottles Nierpoort Nat’Cool. Normally $23, in combo, $19.50

3 bottles Bohigas Xarel-lo. Normally $14, in combo, $11.50

Basket of 3+3 : $93.00. Only until Saturday June 1.