Niepoort 30 Years Old Tawny Port


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“The NV 30 Year Old Tawny Port was bottled in 2023. They sell very small volumes of this wine so that they can keep up with it, as they are making a little bit more Port to keep and age for these blends and maybe aged colheitas (and Garrafeira!). It’s moving in the direction of a liqueur or a brandy; the evaporation makes the wine concentrated, and the aromas are clearly more in the nut and varnish category. It’s dense and impressive, pungent and powerful, with a round palate and a soft texture. They never made a 40 year old (or even less, the new 50 year old category), because it’s not their style. But I have to admit that this 30 year old is very nice. This should last forever. Drink: 2023-2040. 95 points

Where to start? I’ve known Dirk Niepoort for over 25 years, and I’ve followed his wines over the years. He doesn’t stop. He has grown his company like crazy. The still wines are on a new level since 2018 (they are always evolving, and they mention 2013 and 2021 as other years of change) with the arrival of winemaker Luis Pedro Cândido da Silva and the next generation of the Niepoort family, especially their son, Daniel, who joined the team in 2020. They not only produce wine in Douro but, nowadays, in most regions in Portugal—Dão, Alentejo, Vinho Verde, Bairrada…

The style is elegant, but they want the wines to age in bottle, so for them it’s all about balance. Some vineyards and wines have been certified organic since 2008. All of the vineyards they own are certified organic, but some of the grapes they buy are not. Daniel Niepoort, who’s a lot more focused on the vineyards now, told me organic is very important for him but that growers are also important and they want to keep the relationship with the growers and be a role model for them to show them that organic is possible, convincing them by being an example.

In 2022, they only got 202 liters of rain (a little less than in 2003!), but the vines adapted to the low water and yields were better than expected. They got some rain during harvest and some fungus. It was one of the most dramatic vintages in viticulture, and some plants died. But 2022 was great for Port. As for 2021, it was a great year for dry wines (but not great for Port), and there was enough water reserve in the soils. They consider it a perfect agricultural year with good yields; it has a mild spring and summer, so a longer cycle and perfect ripening of the grapes. It could be a little like 2018, 2008 and 2001—cooler years with higher acidity. 2020 was warm and dry, so the grapes were healthier. But it was the COVID-19 vintage, and that created some problems in the vineyards; everything was weird that year. As for 2023, even if still too early, the year was also great in Douro, for Luis Pedro the finest he’s seen there.

Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (04/24)