Niepoort Vintage Port 2017 – “possibly our best since 1945”
Dirk Niepoort rates Niepoort Vintage Port 2017 as the best Vintage Port he has made – “in the same line of 2015, but with a touch more perfection…it’s possibly our finest Vintage Port since 1945.”
You will find my tasting note below. It is based on three tastings – a sample tasted at home over a few days in May and, in June, the New Douro Primeiro Prova tasting in the Douro and Port Forum tasting. First, some information from Niepoort about the year and the winemaking.
And first, first (!), here’s a heads up on an opportunity to buy a very special 2017 Vintage Port to which Niepoort has contributed – a Douro Boys blend, made in celebration of this collective of five top producers’ 15th anniversary (together with a Douro DOC red, also from 2017). The wines will be up for auction on the 10th October at the Hotel Six Senses Douro Valley. The auctioneer will be Peter Mansell, from Christie’s Wine Department London. Find out all about it here.
Niepoort Vintage Port 2017 – the year
“2017 will be remembered for the intense heat and record low levels of rainfall. In-spite of the dry weather, flowering and bud burst developed under good conditions, and in August and September, the high temperatures during the day coupled with cold nights allowed an even and gradual ripening.
The decision to start harvesting early, at the perfect moment of ripeness, allowed grapes to be received in ideal conditions with fantastic natural acidity.
Harvest at the Vale de Mendiz winery, began on 24th of August under perfect weather conditions, with musts displaying an intense colour and a powerful character. The last grapes were harvested on 26th of September.
Although yields were approximately 30% down on a normal year, essentially due to dehydration, the quality of the harvest enabled this epic Vintage Port.”
Niepoort Vintage Port 2017 – the winemaking
A blend of several Cima Corgo vineyards. All the components were trodden by foot in circular granite lagares with 100% stems. The wines were racked soon after harvest, aged in “tonéis” in the Douro over the winter, and then moved to the cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia in March 2018. Bottled June 2019 after ageing 2 years in “tonel.”
Residual sugar (g/dm3) 89, pH 3.2, Total Acidity 3.56 (g/dm3).
Niepoort Vintage Port 2017 – my tasting note
On each occasion I tasted it, my notes mention Fonseca, such is this Vintage Port’s flamboyant fruit and aromatics. It is distinctly floral, with orange blossom and violet lift, a touch of botanicals and spicy gingerbread to its bitter chocolate-edged blackcurrant, blackberry and red cherry fruit. Plush, opulent, even, on the attack and through the mid-palate, but tapering elegantly through the finish with a shower of pervasive but persistent, paper-fine mouthcoating tannins. Said spiralling tannins (mineral and cedary) together with fresh acidity temper and balance the fruit, coolly carrying a long finish. Intense, very powerful, but also very fine, detailed and expressive. 19.7%, 40,500 bottles produced.