Tried & tasted: Niepoort Vintage Port 2011 & Niepoort Bioma Vintage Port 2011

Continuing my reports on 2011 Vintage Ports below you’ll find my notes on one of my favourite releases of the vintage, the Niepoort Vintage Port 2011 and sister wine Bioma, the latter of which will be bottled next year.

Click here and here for earlier reports (Sogrape & Symington Family Estates)

Niepoort vintage report

“The agricultural year in 2011 will be remembered for relatively low precipitation during the winter and an unusually early bud burst in March, along with a sudden extreme heat in June which literally led to burnt clusters in exposed and early varieties such as Tinta Barroca. Although July and the end of August were relatively cool with some light precipitation in the final days of August and first days of September, temperatures picked up and the harvest had to be accelerated to avoid berry shrivel.

In the end, low yields combined with very good acidity and great colour turned up in a perfect year for Vintage Port. It is worth noting that when the fermenting musts are fortified there is a temporary loss of colour which picks up straight away as the brandy blends with the musts, however in 2011 it was interesting to observe that young ports were immediately, extremely dark at the point of fortification and have remained so ever since.

2011 Vintage continues Niepoort’s tradition to create balanced Ports with great concentration but fine and delicate.”

Niepoort Vintage Port 2011

This blend of several Cima Corgo vineyards & (old field blend) varieties including, among others, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarela, Sousão and Touriga Nacional was 100% foot trodden in granite lagares with 100% stems. The wine was aged for 2 years in “toneis” and some pipes.  A vibrant Port in colour and on the palate with lovely florality – violets – and black pepper lift to its well defined its sweet, ripe, juicy and intense swathes of berry and plum fruit.  Long and persistent with a ripe but palpable chassis of tannins.  Already so charming and elegant such is its exquisite balance – built for the long haul.  Residual sugar 104g/l, abv 19.5%

Niepoort Bioma Vintage Port 2011

Bioma “Vinha Velha”, is a single vineyard Vintage Port from aged vines at Vinha da Pisca (mostly + 80 years old), which is cultivated organically.  A hot site, which produces impressive tannins, it formed the backbone of Niepoort  Vintage Ports for many years.  However,the best parcels were set aside for this wine in 2011, 2009, 2008 and (known then as Pisca) in 2007.  Like Niepoort Vintage Port, Bioma was 100% foot trodden with 100% stems. It was then aged in pipes (550 litre)and will be bottled in the third year after the harvest (2014) which, says Niepoort, is what happened in the “old days” when wines were shipped to England in pipes, and bottled later.  Though tight on the nose, Bioma is headily perfumed in the mouth with violets running through it like Blackpool through a stick of rock.  It’s darker and spicier too, the tannins grainy – more textural – the fruit concentrated and tightly coiled but an animated (fresh) presence.  Though the alcohol is a little more pronounced, Bioma is relatively inwardly focused as yet – it has much more to give.  A very intense, singular wine.  Residual sugar 110g/l, abv 21%.

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