When you consider the glorious opulence of Port and its truly decadent, hedonistic effect on humankind, it's kind of funny that the English, widely reputed to be cold fish, should have caused it to happen, but their preference for full-bodied, warming wines is well-established. Of the production style called Colheita, a method of making vintage tawny ports, this artfully-blended wine hails from the standout year of 2005. Nine years in cask gives it the tawny color, lighter body, and preponderance of hazelnut and caramel as compared to the purple fruit of rubies, which are all bottle-aged. Niepoort’s 2005 shows cherry and a sweetly inviting touch of caramel on the nose. Nicely structured to carry its alcohol (which clocks in at 20%) and the sweetness for which one comes to Port, it shows cherry and blackberry fruit, hazelnut, caramel, and butterscotch (this is just a starter list, really), with the acidity to keep it from cloying on the palate. Smooth and lively, with baking spices and a miles-long finish, it will age pretty much indefinitely (bequeath it to your heirs) but is pretty damn delicious right now.
Pairing: Have it with a brownie smothered with chocolate sauce and nuts, blue-veined cheeses, or a fine cigar.
TYPE: Fortified Red
VARIETY: TAWNY PORT
REGION: Porto, PORTUGAL