When a winemaker, 3 decades into his tenure, states that 2015 was “as perfect as it gets, particularly for Port,” you know you have something special on your hands.
And indeed, 2015 was an incredibly fantastic year for vintage Port. The weather behaved itself throughout the year, and harvest was a dream. The result are two vintage Ports from Niepoort that will stand the test of time, but are fleshy and voluptuous enough to drink now too.
The name ‘Niepoort’ is exceptionally important in the Douro, being one of only a handful of independent, family run producers left. The company is headed by the formidable and inspiring Dirk Niepoort, 5th generation Port maker (the 6th generation is already making wine, primed to take his father’s place in the future). The art of Master Blender has also passed down through three generations. This is a truly independent, tight-knit affair.
Dirk called the 2015 Bioma ‘the best vintage Port of this century.’ The fruit comes from one single organically grown plot with vines of 80-100 years old. The grapes were foot trodden in traditional ‘lagares’ (essentially concrete swimming pools), before being fortified and left to settle. In the spring, they were transferred into traditional ‘pipes’ (550l barrels) and bottled in January 2018.
This is an unusual way of ageing Port - usually the juice would be shipped to Gaia in Porto and aged in large vats there. By keeping them in smaller barrels, Niepoort has managed to produce an exceptionally complex wine.
Flavours of bitter chocolate, dark fruits and plums, with fresh acidity and a finish that seemingly will never end.
As with the vintage port, the harvest conditions means that this Port can be uncorked for Christmas 2019 and be utterly delicious. But it is also one to stand the test of time, to hand down to younger generations.