martes, 2 de abril de 2013

Niepoort The Senior Tawny Port - New Packaging NV


NIEPOORT THE SENIOR TAWNY PORT - NEW PAKAGING NV

- Wine information: 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. Niepoort Vinhos is an innovative company and for many years have been diversifying and breaking taboos whilst maintaining tradition. The redesign of The Senior Tawny, as well as being fun, emphasises its seniority with a moustache and the most traditional of Port Wine bottle shapes, the Potta. The Junior, in contrast, is a younger, fruitier more contemporary wine and has a pair of cool shades on the label of a standard Niepoort bottle. Niepoort The Senior Tawny is a field blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarela, Sousão and others grape varieties sourced from vineyards in Vale do Pinhão and Ferrão with an average vine age of 30 years. After the grapes are hand-picked, they are then foot trodden in traditional stone lagares. After the wine has been produced it is then shipped to the Niepoort lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia where it ages in small oak barrels. The small barrels enable a soft and light contact with air through the pores of the wood, which results in a slow oxidation process over the years. The average age of the blend is 7 years.

- "Niepoort The Senior Tawny is an elegant port with a subtle expression, a great everyday Tawny Port. It has a brick red tawny colour and the flavours and aromas are predominantly red fruit based with nutty characteristics. It has a velvety mouth feel with a fine blend of old wines giving richness balanced with younger wines giving freshness and complexity. Food & Wine match: Niepoort Senior can be served at room temperature or slightly chilled, and is quite delicious on its own or with many dishes. Try it with creamy cheeses (like brie) or nutty cheeses (like strong cheddar), or desserts like treacle sponge, sticky toffee pudding or just with nuts and dried fruit. Price: £16.50". farehamwinecellar

- "Lots of polished wood, cherry and dried cranberries. A little honey comes off with some rosemary. The palate is soft, lovely with dried fruit, a little more polished wood, some dried fruit - prunes and raisins - and then a cinnamon and tobacco finish that is quite sweet. It really is a delicious port and at £18.00 it is great value. 90pts." thetastingnote

PORT BLEND RED WINE

Red Port is blended together using a number of grape varieties. The precise identity of these, and the proportion each represents in the final blend, may not be known even to the winemaker. For some growers in the Douro region of Portugal, the ambiguity over what is in their fortified wines is not an attempt to protect some proprietary secret, but rather a matter of reality: they simply don't know for sure what they have growing in their vineyards.

Because Portugal's wine industry has adopted regulation and legally enforced controls in the past few decades, tradition still has a strong influence on how wines are made and vineyards are managed. Tradition, here, means co-planted varieties and field blends (wines made from whatever combination of varieties happens to occur in the source vineyard). So, while the New World wine regions were proudly leading the charge towards varietal winemaking, Portugal remained entrenched in age-old viticultural and winemaking techniques. As a result, the list of grape varieties sanctioned for use in Port wines is very long. There are roughly 80 permitted in Red Port and almost 50 in White Port.

To list each variety individually here would be fruitless - few producers state exactly which varieties they use in their Ports, and in any case, the varietal character of each is often lost in the melée of aromas. Since the 1970s, most ports are made from of the 'big five' quality Port varieties. Below is a summary of these, and what they contribute to Red Port blends.

- Touriga Nacional - robust and tannic - is regarded as the finest Port variety, and contributes structure through its complex acids and tannins. Its tiny yields of small, intensely flavored berries contribute quality rather than quantity.

- Touriga Franca brings balance to the blend with its lifted fruit and floral aromas.

- Tinta Barroca - jammy and potent - adds volume, breadth and (thanks to its naturally high sugar levels) strong potential alcohol.

- Tinta Roriz - better known by its Spanish name, Tempranillo - contributes its deep color to the blend, which is vital given the limited maceration time Port receives. Because neutral alcohol is added to the wines to arrest fermentation early and retain fruit sweetness, they run the risk of appearing pale if insufficient color is bled from the skins in this time.

- Tinto Cao - prized for its spice and bite (cao, co-incidentally, means 'dog') - brings longevity to the blend. Tinto Cao wines are less immediately impressive in their youth, but acquire remarkable finesse over time.

Other noteworthy varieties that are relatively common in Port production are Sousao, Tinta Amarela and Mourisco Tinto. Each Port house has its own unique style, even within the various categories of Port produced. As such, it is almost impossible to offer tasting notes on the Port Blend as a whole.

TAWNY PORT

Tawny Port is a ubiquitous style of fortified wine that takes its name from its amber-brown (tawny) color. It is lighter than Vintage Port and Ruby Port in both color and aroma. Rather than being powerful and fruit-driven. Tawny Ports tend to display oxidative characteristics (nutty aromas). Though usually considered an after-dinner drink. Tawny Port has gained increasing acceptance as an aperitif. This is particularly the case in France, by far the style's largest consumer market.

The theory behind Tawny Port is that its distinctive color, aroma and flavor come from several years' barrel-ageing. The reality is often quite different, however. Many modem Tawny Ports - particularly cheaper, mass-produced examples - are lighter in color not because of any extended ageing, but because they are made from lighter-colored base wines, using gentler vinification methods (e.g. shorter maceration time). The tawny color and nutty, aged aroma is often created by ageing in the heat of the upper Douro region, rather than shipping it downstream to Oporto as happens with other Ports. This short-cut ageing method is referred to as the 'Douro Bake', a term also used to describe the caramel-like aromas which in wines aged in this way.

As is the case with all vin doux naturel, fermentation of the base wine is arrested by adding high-proof grape spirit (of about 77% ABV). This lifts the wine's alcoholic strength to somewhere around 19% ABV, and kills off the yeasts. The quantity of unfermented sugar left in the must dictates the sweetness of the wine.

Tawny Ports are non-vintage wines - a blend of made from several vintages (compare this with Vintage Port and Colheita Port). Just like Sherry and non-vintage Champagne, the principle aim is to maintain the house style, rather than to reflect the vintage characteristics of any particular season.

The true spirit of Tawny Port is best embodied by Aged Tawny Port. This category covers both Reserve Tawny (which must be aged in barrel for at least seven years) and those wines bearing an age statement (10, 20, 30, or 40 years) which reflects how long they have spent in barrel. As they relate to a non-vintage wine, these age statements are necessarily vague, and increase per decade rather than per year.

References: farehamwinecellar and wine-searcher  

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