1991 Niepoort Colheita Porto

Vivo Portugal!

In honor of Portugal’s 7-0 drubbing of North Korea in World Cup action early this morning, I am going to share with you probably the finest port I’ve ever had.

First off, I love ports. Especially tawny ports, as I really like the common caramel–vanilla profile more than ruby port’s raspberry–chocolate profile. To each their own, of course, but my favorite ports are vintage tawnys.

This one fits that description, and it’s a fantastic little dessert wine. Like many ports, the ‘91 Colheita clocks in at 20% ABV. It’s made up of more than seven grape varieties (the info sheet I have includes the words “and others”), including touriga nacional, touriga franca, tinta cao, tinta francisca, tinta amarela, vinhao, and tinta roriz (a.k.a. tempranillo).

So what to expect from this 19-year-old vintage? Awesomeness, naturally. It’s gorgeous in the glass, with the wine’s core resembling iced tea, fading to basically clear at the edges. It smells of burnt caramel and peanut brittle, sweet but with an edge that keeps the aromas much more interesting than just “sweet.”

The wine is thick and syrupy, much fuller than just “full-bodied.” It tastes of vanilla and caramel, and also of kettle corn. Yes, it’s quite sweet (this is, after all, a dessert wine) but the sweetness is metered throughout by the aforementioned edge. This wine never succumbs to the easiness of “sweet,” it keeps you always on your toes, looking for the next little element.

An incredible treat, and exactly the sort of thing one could use to celebrate, say, a 7-0 drubbing by one’s ancestral nation in the World Cup. Not a bad idea…

Verdict: 93/100

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