Since the 1960s, brothers Luís and Alberto Costa, owners of the São João Caves, were very close friends of Rolf Niepoort, who directed between the 1960s and 1997. Inspired by this strong connection, The St. John's Caves have asked Niepoort for a special wine for its Centenary, which is celebrated throughout 2020. Thus was born the wine "100 years of history", launched on the occasion of this ephemeris so significant of this house of Anadia.
"We have made a special batch for these 100 years – and the choice fell in 2017, as it is such an emblematic year for Niepoort, and of high quality. This batch is made from centuries-old vineyards – which for this occasion made perfect sense – 100% fermented in mill, with foot treads and 100% whole grape", explains Dirk Niepoort, son of Rolf Niepoort currently the director general of Casa Niepoort. "For me, it is an honor to be able to make a wine for the St. John's Cellars", he reinforces. This limited edition of 1000 bottles - of which only 100 will be on sale, in Garrafeira Nacional (PVP 150€) - is as surprising as symbolic, since it is a return to the headquarters of The S. João Caves and its beginning in the 30s of the last century.
"Ten years ago we began to think about the project of celebrating the Centenary of the Caves S. João", explains Célia Alves, winemaker and manager of The S. João Caves. "Given the richness of the History of the Caves, we chose to lacing a wine for decades, thus telling the History of our House and the different phases it went through. Of these 11 wines, the '100 Years of History', Vintage made by Niepoort, and revealed on the centenary day, turns out to be the perfect cycle closure, as it returns to the beginnings of the Caves, when the business went through the douro and porto wine trade."
The centennial day was full. He began with a Mass in a chapel with the statue of St. John the Baptist, patron saint of the place of St. John of Azenha, on June 24 – St. John's Day. This chapel, of high symbolism, honored the founders of the Caves and also blessed its current protagonists. After mass, the celebration continued to the Sparkling Cellar, an underground gallery where there is also a statue of St. John the Baptist. The lunch continued with the typical gastronomy of St. John's Day – sardines, green broth and piglet of Bairrada. The dessert, sponge cake and cheese, was duly accompanied by Niepoort's Vintage 2017, the "Wine 100 years of history".
At the end of the meal, he toasted himself with a sparkling wine commemorating the Centenary of this house, which was also launched on this special day. Bottled in 2016, purposely for the centenary celebrations, is a Natural Brute, from the 2015 harvest, by Pinot Noir. This limited edition, with 2784 numbered bottles, can be found, at first, in Garrafeira Nacional (PVP 40€).
Parallel to the Centenary Event of The Caves São João, in Lisbon, in Garrafeira Nacional, the Wines were launched 100 Years of History Caves São João, with a face-to-face and digital proof, in a joint organization TintoCão, Garrafeira Nacional and Caves São João. So it closed a memorable day.