Dirk Niepoort: 100-point score will “destroy” work

dirk niepoort “One day, my Dutch importer phoned to say, ‘Your wine got 100 points in Parker.’ I was not happy at all.”

That’s what Dirk Niepoort, one of Portugal’s best wine minds, told Sarah Ahmed in a piece on wine-searcher.com. The maker of table wines continued, saying that it would “destroy” what he’s done in the vineyard and winery because “it’s too early to have 100 points;” such acclaim would raise prices and alienate the customer base he’s trying to build. To the tape:

As I get older, I care less and less. And more and more I want to build our reputation on word of mouth with customers who eventually have the money but, more than anything, have a taste and respect for what we do. That creates the image, not the Parker or “Wine Speculator” [sic] way. It’s slower, but much safer – less volatile.

Asked what he most dislikes in wine, he replied, “points.” He further stated that his sales were up 80% in the first quarter of this year.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: I inquired which @NiepoortWines received 100 points, they replied on Twitter “Someone told Dirk he got 100 pts and that was his reaction. In fact he never got 100 pts from Parker.”

Related: Points for all? Recent evidence of wine score inflation

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19 Responses to “Dirk Niepoort: 100-point score will “destroy” work”


  1. After reading this, I’ll make it a point [no pun intended] to search out Nirpoort’s wines. Not because of the scores, but because of what he said.


  2. He doesn’t have to raise his prices. And he can have a few words with those who do inflate and gouge. I guess he would have been happier with an 80?


  3. This drives a desire to know more about Dirk Niepoort’s wines. His philosophy of creating outstanding art for organic, loyal fans will beat any points recognition.


  4. Great Dirk Niepoort was one of the stars of one of our recent editions, Grandes del Duero. Another Grande del Duero, Mariano García, also speaks about ratings in the same edition. Those you are interested in learning more and understand Spanish, may access the interview here http://www.viajesyvinos.com/Viajes_vinos_2grandesdelduero_files_files.htm


  5. I guess he shouldn’t submit his wines for Robert Parker to rate.


  6. And then there’s Matt Kramer’s take. http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/47154


  7. I’m with Robin. If you don’t want a score, don’t submit your wines.


  8. Not all wines reviewed are submitted by the producer or importer.


  9. [...] Elsewhere in Wine-Searcher Magazine, an interview with Dirk Niepoort, a Portuguese winemaker “at the vanguard of moves to produce fine table wines in the Douro Valley.” Dr. Vino comments. [...]


  10. [...] Dr. Vino reported it, paraphrasing Niepoort as saying the Big Score “would raise prices and alienate the customer base he’s trying to build.” Then, curiously, Niepoort added this little fillip: “it’s too early to have 100 points.” [...]


  11. His wines were recommended to me by The Rare Wine Company some years ago and they ARE good. The bonus was the most interesting packaging…it’s what I do for a living and can only aspire to something as subtle and unique.Beautiful in the deepest way.


  12. So after bemoaning the perfect 100-point score … “He further stated that his sales were up 80% in the first quarter of this year.”

    Coincidence? ;-)


  13. Dave – Yes, it’s not clear exactly which wine received 100 points from Squires/WA and when that was. On the Niepoort wines site, they mention their scores from WA in December and they were in the 87 – 92 point range. So that wouldn’t explain the pop in Q1 sales Dirk mentions. I would be interesting to know what did.

    http://www.niepoort-vinhos.com/en/press/pdfs/2012-01-Parker_WineAdvocate.en.pdf


  14. It’s always been my hope that each individual learns to rely on scores from their personal criteria, ie. what they like, making market wide wine ratings null & void.


  15. Dirk’s comments are very much in Dirk’s style just as his wines are.
    Importer normally submits wine, not the producer, when tasting is in the US.


  16. IMPORTANT UPDATE: I inquired which @NiepoortWines received 100 points, they replied on Twitter: “Someone told Dirk he got 100 pts and that was his reaction. In fact he never got 100 pts from Parker.”


  17. I gave him 23 million points. Parker can suck it.


  18. Well, I think only who makes fabulous wine could say this. As I love Dirk’s wines, what he says influences on my thought pretty much despite the fact that I still respect the scores that the critics/magazines grants..


  19. Dirk is a great man, the way he fights trends and revolutionized the way portuguese wine marketing works is amazing. A man that lives for wine not caring about what others say.
    We should all have the up most respect for him and his work.


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