First taste: 2009 Vintage Ports, including Warres 2009 & Niepoort Bioma 2008

My stand out category from this month’s Big Fortified Tasting was undoubtedly Vintage Port from 2008 and 2009 – neither generally declared years, but my pick of the bunch showed wonderful intensity, elegance and power:

Niepoort Bioma 2008

Bioma is the new name for Pisca (first released in 2007) and reflects this single vineyard port’s organic cultivation.  It’s very deep in colour, with a youthful cassis nose and very subtle cool stalky edge to its cassis and blackberry palate.  More penetrating than the 2007 at the same stage, it has a remarkable saturation of fruit supported by a chassis of fine ripe tannins.  Fabulous intensity, mineral depth and balance – really complete.   Like 2007 Pisca, it was aged in lodge Pipes, not wooden vats, at the Quinta de Nápoles winery, rather than at Gaia.  (See here for a video of Dirk Niepoort discussing the 2007 vintage and, 5 minutes in, the Pisca/Bioma vineyard and his motivation for making this wine).

Pintas Vintage Port 2009

A deep inky purple hue with a super floral nose and palate with violets to its well defined dark berry fruits.  Elegant with good structure behind.  Lovely.

Churchill’s Quinta da Gricha Vintage 2009

Dark ruby and, with really good depth of flavour and structure, it’s long, lingering and violet scented from nose to tail.  Good freshness too.

Dow’s Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira 2009

Deep purple with animated spicy pepper currently to the fore on nose and vigorous palate, beneath which lurks lush red and black berry and cherry fruits which have yet to take centre stage.  Very good.

Quinta do Vesuvio 2009

A raw youthful nose, but in the mouth it’s another story with plush and fleshy plum, damson, cherry and berry fruit edged with sweet cinnamon spice/chocolate gingerbread.  Fine powdery tannins add to its sumptuousness.  Long.  Very good.

Warre’s Vintage Port 2009

Relatively pale compared with its Symington stable mates and, though initially sappy, peppery and seemingly “thin” on nose and palate, it builds in the mouth showing delightful intensity and poise to its perfumed ripe red and black berry and cherry fruits.  An elegant, intense wine.  Just lovely.

There are just 500 cases of this wine released to mark the 200th anniversary of Wellington’s victory in the Peninsular War.  More details to follow.

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