2019 Vintage Port Declaration – Niepoort
2019 Port Vintage Summary
The 2019 Port vintage was notable for the extremely drawn-out harvest. The year began with a dry winter and spring, and little rain was seen during the rest of the growing season. However, the saving grace – preventing conditions from falling into full-on drought – was the cooler than average summer, which was in sharp contrast to the one experienced by the rest of Europe. These cooler conditions lasted through to September when the harvest took place, and a brief smattering of rain fell at just the right time to ensure that the grapes were healthy and of extremely good quality; in particular, the white grapes and Touriga Nacional were said to be exemplary.
In general, the fruit was considered to be deep and complex, offering good structure, and the resulting wines are likely to be highly successful. Port houses will decide individually whether to declare a vintage year or not, but most, I suspect, will.
2019 Niepoort Vintage Port
The Niepoort Vintage Porto 2019 was officially announced on Dirk Niepoort’s birthday, in conjunction with an online tasting where Dirk, Daniel Niepoort (now Head Winemaker) and Nick Delaforce (Head Portmaker) presented the new wine. There were discussions about the 2019 vintage as a whole, the weather and picking times, a hot topic for Niepoort as they generally pick earlier than other Port houses.
Dirk believes that phenolic/flavour ripeness can be achieved without the accumulation of too much sugar and, therefore, potential alcohol and jammy fruit flavours. Picking early also means slightly higher natural acidities and so fresher wines. Dirk’s anecdote from a time chatting to Robert Mondavi seems to underpin his view on the inherent balance of a port wine, in particular the relationship between actual sugar levels and perceived sweetness; as he says, “all great sweet wines should taste sweet, making them indulgent, but finish dry, so as not to be too heavy and to leave you wanting more”.
6 x 75cl – £365
12 x 37.5cl – £410
3 x 150cl – £410
2019 had the classic hallmarks of a great vintage; A dry summer with rain in the last weekend of August, allowing the fruit to reach full maturity whilst maintaining finesse and elegance – the perfect conditions in which the Niepoort style thrives!
This is a Port with a concentrated depth of colour. The true potential and style of this wine is really displayed on the palate with wonderful integration of dark fruits, a grainy tannic structure, and pairing volume with amazing balance and elegance culminating in an impressive finish. In conclusion, the primary fruit on the palate is appealing at this stage, but it is the balanced tannic structure which indicates great ageing potential for the future. This is a Vintage Port with personality and, for Niepoort, richer and riper than previous vintages, but maintains the true essence of a Niepoort Vintage Port; finesse, no exuberance and an overarching balance to the wine that will continue to develop for years to come. DN