Niepoort Vintage Port 2019 & 2000

The other day I had the pleasure of tasting a sample of the Vintage Port 2019 from Niepoort. The sample was sent, along with a Vintage Port 2000 for comparison. Thank you Niepoort for that, it was a pleasure to taste these side by side during two days. I was also invited to a webbased tasting and presentation with Dirk Niepoort, Daniel Niepoort and Nick Delaforce. The men behind this lovely port. During and after the tasting we had a nice presentation and some good questions from some of the other attendees. Here is my observations after the tasting and at the end tasting notes, as written during the tasting.

This 2019 vintage port is a blend of more than 70 different fermentations, all from different parcels. As usual with Niepoort we are talking old vines of up to 80/100 years. Field blends with more that 40 different grapes in the final Port.

“We believe in the vineyards more than the bloody varietals, like others. Old vineyards is doing the trick.” Dirk Niepoort

Even though Niepoort is now going into its sixth generation in the cellar with Daniel and his brother Marco, I think its worth noting that new winds are blowing in the old cellars. Dirk has always been a rebel and gone his own way, it seems to me that he has taught his sons well. The idea here is that freshness is the key element in a wine, whether we are talking still wines or fortified wines. This is something I really like and it might be one of the reasons I am such a big fan. The two latest vintage ports from Niepoort, with 17 and 19 is in the words of Dirk: “The best we have ever produced”. I loved the 2017 and lets just say I also liked the 2019. The style is so great, with huge focus on the fruit and the wines are build in a way where you get the feeling that this is more like a huge wine, than it is showing off as a sweet wine. The structure is so well balanced, so you get intensity, high acidity and it all leads to a wine that finishes dry. Even though off course it is sweet as a port should be.

Once again, thank you for the samples, here are my notes as written during the tasting. Both wines were decanted four hours before the tasting and served chilled in Zalto white wine glass.

2019 Niepoort, Vintage Port, Douro

Purople rim and very intense nose. Fresh crushed red berries, like cranberry and cherry, more than black fruit. Crushed stonewall tumbling down in the rain. An some smokiness from the oak.

Intense palate, that grabs your attention. This is young and ready to kick your door down to get your attention. Rough on the edges with plenty of acidity and tannin and the fruit stays down the middle and then it gets dry at the finish. Again, like 17, this is a huge wine that just happens to be sweet and high in alcohol. It shows how these elements come together to give a good balance.

Keeps growing and gets longer in many ways. A great expression that just stays alive and where the fruit comes bac on the palate after the dry period.

On day two this was even in better balance. The alcohol better integrated and the finish still amazing.

Rating: 95-97 points

2000 Niepoort, Vintage Port, Douro

Open nose with some more dark fruit aromas, some leather and sweet tobacco. Still a fresh and singing red fruit flying on top of these extra tertiary notes.

Sweet and well-balanced style on the palate. Good clean fruit, with a touch of raisins and a long stony crispiness. Notes of black cherry and a lovely creamy texture where tannins are more rounded. Keeps on working with a fantastic long finish. This is structured and build in a much more classic style, where it is a sweet wine, with a partial warm finish.

Rating: 94 points

It was interesting to taste these side by side. Both showing clear signs of mature fruit, but the 19 just build in a different way. I will look so much forward to taste this in 20 years time and see how it will evolve.

A nice informal tasting, but I will look even more forward to seeing all of you in Portugal as soon as possible.