Fond as I am of Niepoort colheitas, I maintain a respectable supply of older variants in the cellar. Alas, I have not yet warmed to the vintage ports of this producer: not because I dislike them; rather, I find Niepoort vintages to be an acquired taste which I have not yet acquired. I would have said the same of Ramos Pinto three years ago and cannot now get enough of it. At any rate, prior to tasting this 1987 I could recall only ever having opened bottles from the 1970 and 2000 vintages. Alas, what I found in the 1987 Niepoort was a most agreeable wine.
In the glass after a six-hour decant on 13 November 2020, the port made for an intriguing mix of deep amber, browns and purples which together were almost entirely opaque. The nose was complex, though it struck me as a touch understated. I did not have the sense that the wine was closed, though I might have got the decanting time incorrect. One was certainly able to discern raspberry, a touch of cherry and signs of lingering youth such as spring lilac, dew-covered grass and a pinch of minerality. On the palate, the wine was altogether more impressive, with red cherry and rose water being very much in evidence at the fore-palate, giving way to strong citrus notes as well as lavender and rhubarb. Relative to other wines of this vintage, surprisingly robust tannins appeared at the back, though a pinch of sweetness redolent of cherry and dark chocolate punched its way to the fore at the finish, which was both delightful and of some length.
I found the body of this port to be somewhat thin, though it was well balanced, leaning towards the dry side of the spectrum. Perhaps with an eye to the Niepoort colheitas, I was half expecting to be confronted with volatile acidity. In the event, such was not the case. The remaining tannic muscle suggested to me that this port stands ten or more years from its peak. Just now, however, the 1987 Niepoort makes for a lovely wine which I should be happy to try again before too long.
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