1997 Niepoort

Tasting notes for individual Ports, with an index sorted by vintage and alphabetically.
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Tasting notes for individual Ports, with an index sorted by vintage and alphabetically.
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StevieCage
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1997 Niepoort VP

Post by StevieCage » 00:00 Thu 09 Aug 2007

I visited the cellar a few days ago, and spotted this bottle was leaking...again! I had re-sealed it with wax a few years ago. Now the wax stood proud of the top of the bottle, like a large bubble: very odd.

Removed the wax to find the cork in place (so it wasn't heat damaged). Pulled the cork, sniffed and went down to the cellar to pick another bottle: the most horrible VA-smell imaginable - YUCK! I decanted the bottle nonetheless: it would seem that apart from the known leaky cork / VA problem this Port was also fermenting again in the bottle: never had a spritzy VP before...

As interesting as it may sound, it was undrinkable. After two days in the decanter I tried it again - no imporvement; down the drain.

As much as I love Niepoort, this is a Vintage I will never buy again.

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AHB
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Post by AHB » 08:12 Thu 09 Aug 2007

Stevie

Have you asked Dirk if he is aware of any problems with the bottling of this vintage?

I would not have thought that it would have possibly been able to start fermenting again in the bottle because of the fortification process, but I'm happy to accept that it seems to be the most likely explanation.

Alex
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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uncle tom
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Post by uncle tom » 08:57 Thu 09 Aug 2007

In another place, it was reported that Dirk had acknowledged a problem with one bottling run, and had offered to replace them with 2000's.

His explanation was that the bottles were packed too soon after bottling, it being normal to let bottles stand for a couple of days to allow the corks to expand and settle, before packing them on their side.

I have a case, and most of the bottles have a small degree of seepage. As I bought the case at auction, and knew the risk, I am not going to send a begging letter to Dirk.

I opened one of the worst offenders at the beginning of this year, and while still much too young, the contents were in good order. The cork however was less impressive, with a notable fissure, and many minor blemishes. That, I suspect, is part of the problem.

The seepage on the remaining bottles is very slight, and has not noticeably impacted the level.

I have no idea what could cause the gas generation - it must be a spoilage organism of some type that is alcohol tolerant!

Tom
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

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Michael M.
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Post by Michael M. » 14:31 Thu 09 Aug 2007

Stevie,
this sounds awful. I bought 6 regular bottles in 1999, 2 leakers among them. Contet was ok. In 2003 I purchased 4 mags- no leakers so far.

Is there a leakers-/VA-problem amongst the mags too?

I would like to purchase 2 or 3 additional mags, but I doubt if that would be a good choice.
Shut Up 'N Drink Yer Port

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StevieCage
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Post by StevieCage » 14:43 Thu 09 Aug 2007

I am aware the Dirk commented about there being a problem with the '97, but I do think it is worse than he thinks (not putting words in his mouth, mind you). I will contact him about it.

As Tom posted above, the problem is supposed to be with a small batch, but the fact remains that virtually ALL bottles I have seen for sale here had signs of seapage - both 750s as well as the fews 375s I've come across. Michael, I've yet to see a magnum of this Port, so I cannot comment.
I am aware that this does not mean that the "fault" lies with Niepoort; it could be that the importer of Niepoort for NL at the time did not store it wines well. However, given the many stories one can find on the web I do think it is a VP to avoid - again, IMHO.

Overtired and emotional
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Post by Overtired and emotional » 21:16 Wed 17 Oct 2007

Having read of this problem some months ago, I checked my one case of this wine to find three offending bottles. I wondered about having the dozen recorked but that seemed a lot of trouble for one case.

In 1999, Clive Coates reviewed this wine as follows: 'Rich, plummy nose. Quite sweet. Fullish, fat, tannic and ripe. Lots of grip and depth. Very long. This is fine. From 2010.' He put it as one of the half dozen top wines of the vintage.

Like Uncle Tom, I am not inclined to write begging letters, and there is probably a good wine hiding away, perhaps for quick consumption in a few years.

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Frederick Blais
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Post by Frederick Blais » 21:21 Wed 17 Oct 2007

I've had this Port only once. The bottle had no problem and the owner of the 5 other bottles confirmed that they are all correct. Thought it was not a Port I did like. So weather for leaking or quality aspect, I'd not buy this Port. My friend keeps asking me when I'm gonna do another Niepoort tasting as he'd be please to pass another bottle of this as a free pass for the tasting. The palate was not bad but the nose had strong VA problem. Still it was rich and young but unactractive at the moment. Might turn out wounderful but with doubts and the price merchants ask for it... I pass.

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RonnieRoots
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Post by RonnieRoots » 11:39 Thu 18 Oct 2007

The palate was not bad but the nose had strong VA problem.
I've tasted this port twice, and both times it had lots of VA on the nose. Next to the leaking bottles, this was the most important reason to pass on this port as well.

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uncle tom
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Post by uncle tom » 12:29 Thu 18 Oct 2007

Thinking about this - if there is some spoilage organism that is generating a little gas, then it could be the gas pressure that is causing the leakage, rather than a deficiency of the cork.

But why then is only one wine from one producer affected? If a wild yeast had mutated to become more alcohol tolerant, then surely we would see the problem elsewhere..

- Very strange!

I seem to recall from an FTLOP thread on this subject a while back that some magnums are also affected.

With all formats showing problems, and leaky bottles emerging in different markets, the notion that one bottling run had problems does not carry much credibility.

I would suggest that the next time someone gets a bottle that is leaking and undrinkable, they contact Dirk and offer to ship the bottle to him - not so much for refund, but to give him the chance to get the wine to the microbiologists for analysis - and get to the bottom of the problem.

Tom
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

Andy Velebil
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Post by Andy Velebil » 13:21 Thu 18 Oct 2007

I have a case of 1/2 bottles and none are leaking, the same goes for the several 750s I have.

I don't think there is an organisim problem. All the leakers I've seen were from full bottles. Dirk did admit the issue and has replaced some bottles in the recent past. A bottling run is a hugh amount of bottles, in reality for VP it would be the entire run of 750 within a few days. I would guess that an entire days run was set on their sides and leaked, a very big amount of bottles. Remember too, there is the law of the third. So if three was 3 days of bottling (all things being equal), two days worth are kept by law and one days was shipped out.

Having worked on wineries here in the Napa area, this is a real problem and producers know to leave the bottles standing upright for a couple days after coming off the bottling line.

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