THE BEST VINTAGE PORT OF THIS CENTURY
All the components for the 2015 Vintage Port were foot-trodden in circular granite lagares at Vale de Mendiz, the Port winery. The wine was vinified with 100% of the stems. Soon after harvest, the wines were racked, aged in tonéis, wooden vats, in the Douro over the winter, and then moved to Vila Nova de Gaia, in April 2016. The final blend then matured further in tonéis at our lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia, prior to bottling.
The 2014/15 viticultural year experienced a cold and very dry winter, with rainfall at a record low compared to previous years. In addition, the spring and summer were dry and hot with three heat waves occurring in June/July, prior to a cooler month of August – the low humidity ensured that the incidence of disease was at an all-time low, and as a result, the vineyards delivered superb, clean fruit – an indicator of paramount importance for a great Vintage Port.
At Niepoort, in Vale de Mendiz, harvest started on 28 August under fine conditions. Even the rain on 15 and 16 September as well as the lower temperatures were most beneficial, allowing the grapes to reach full maturity without the problems of splitting and subsequent rot which could be expected in a year with normal levels of soil humidity.
The 2015 vintage perpetuates Niepoort’s tradition of creating balanced Ports which offer great concentration but also incredible elegant and finesse. What makes the 2015 vintage so unique is the purity of fruit – a result of low humidity during the growing season which was not affected by the rain on 15 and 16 September. It provided a diversity of parcels from which to blend the 2015 Vintage Port – some more acid-driven, from the early September harvest before the rain, and others slightly riper and harvested after mid-September.
Vintage Port maintains Niepoort's tradition of making balanced Ports with great concentration, being at the same time fine and delicate. We strongly believe we can make a Vintage Port with potencial to last for decades. Vintage Port must be bottled within two or three years of the harvest date.
The magic of Vintage Port is different in every phase: as a young wine it captures the youthful fruit characters. Then, after 20 years or more, the effects of the slow bottle age integration are revealed and finally, after many decades, the spirit dominates the wine. Vintage Port is amazing in all the three phases. Half sweet taste, combining with its strong structure. Firm and long tannins, but balanced as a whole. Please, note that Vintage Port needs to be decanted. Perfect with "Queijo da Serra", Stilton or other blue cheeses and with egg desserts, like the portuguese "Pão de Ló".
2015 was as perfect as it gets, particularly for Port – a year where we had time to think and make the right decisions, with the weather helping enormously.
Picked at the perfect time, 40% originating from our Pisca vineyard and 60% from different small parcels, all over 80 years old, the Ports were foot-trodden and made in lagares in Vale de Mendiz, with 100% of the stems.
This resulted in incredible Ports with an unusual dimension, impressive structure with fine and intense tannins, great concentration but always accompanied by balance and harmony.
All the elements seem to have fallen into place to ensure that this Vintage will outlive the 1955, 1970 perhaps even the 1945 Ports (but after vastly different harvest conditions)…
The sweetness is masked by the wonderfully robust tannins, the alcohol by the generous concentration, with the fantastic natural acidity of 2015 providing an overall balance.
The nose is shy but focused, no overripe prune-like characteristics, just a gentle and elegant expression of fruit and complexity – it is a joy just to smell all the hidden elements.
The balance and harmony in the bottle promise a great future: these are bottles to taste in the coming years in order to smile at its youth, to drink properly in 20 years and to enjoy fully in 40 years. A Vintage which is actually destined for the next generations so they can admire the beauty that the Douro is able to deliver.