Niepoort Bioma Vinha Velha 2015 Vintage Port was, for me, one of the stand out Ports of the 2015 declaration.
Niepoort is a family company now in its fifth generation and presently managed by Dirk Niepoort. Despite being the second smallest shippers in the trade they are second to none in quality. Already famous for their classic tawny ports, they have now joined the ranks of the great producers of Vintage Port.
At the heart of the concept of Niepoort Bioma Vinha Velha 2015 Vintage Port, is a very special vineyard (Vinha da Pisca) in a very special part of the Douro. For many years, this vineyard has provided the backbone of Niepoort Vintage Ports, but since 2005, Niepoort has been able to study the qualities of this vineyard in greater detail, managing it in a organic way, and furthermore, identifying better, part of the remarkable wines made here for setting aside, as Bioma in 2008 (and previously as Pisca in 2007). The “Vinha Velha” refers to the extraordinary age of the vines at Vinha da Pisca, mostly exceeding 80 years old.
Niepoort Bioma Port is an ultra-traditional style of Vintage Port. It is inspired by the old Vintage Ports from 1970 and before, which were shipped in lodge pipes (550 liters) to England. Organically grown grapes are sourced from several old vine vineyards in the Cima Corga and this is a Douro Field Blend of Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarela, Sousão, Touriga Nacional and others. The grapes were trodden entirely by foot with 100% stems at the Vale de Mendiz winery. After fortification with brandy, the Port was left to settle over the winter. In springtime, the wine was transferred to a very cool part of the winery at Quinta de Nápoles and racked into pipes (the classic 550 litre lodge pipe). Maturing this Port in pipas in a cool cellar in the Douro, instead of large vats in Gaia and bottling Bioma “Vinha Velha” in the third year after the harvest, produces an exceptionally complex wine. Oddly this was the way it happened in the “old days” when wines were shipped to England in pipes, and bottled later.