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News

Nacional 2001: Best Fortified Wine of the Year

In his “best of 2016” round-up, The Wine Advocate’s Mark Squires selected Quinta do Noval Nacional 2001 as the “Best Fortified Wine of the Year.” See his tasting note below! 

“The 2001 Vintage Port Nacional is a typical blend, mostly Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Cão, Sousão and Tinta Roriz. Aged for 20 months in old barrels in Douro, it comes in with 19.3% alcohol and 76.8 grams per liter of residual sugar. This is a late release, declared in 2003 but just now about to hit the market. Christian Seely said: “[T]he 2001 was extremely backward and quite closed up, dense and very tannic. Since we had just declared and released the 2000 Nacional, we decided to lay down the 250 cases of Nacional 2001 …” The late release has certainly tamed this. It still feels very firm and has a real backbone, but it is not overly drying and it is a lot more approachable than newly-released Nacionals can be. By day three, though, it was showing a bit more pure power and complexity–and it seemed far better.

 

Its best feature is easily its crisp and fresh feel. The fruit is wonderfully lifted. If you’re looking for rich, sexy and lush–this won’t be that. It won’t hit you over the head. However, you’ll never become bored with this perfectly balanced, understated and very refined Porto. You can sit with this all night long. The long finish, on first taste, was laced with a hint of eucalyptus, but over the hours and days to come, it leaned more to baked plum, herbs and chocolate mint. It also filled the mouth and seemed rather weighty, relative to this elegant vintage in Douro. Its graceful demeanor, structure and complexity had this singing increasingly harmonious songs after several days.

This will improve notably in the cellar. If you must, you can approach it now with some decanting. (It has already thrown a heavy sediment, too, so decanting is not optional.) The fruit has opened to the point where it is often expressive, but that will only improve. For someone (like me) who typically prefers Vintage Ports at around 30 to 35 years old, this is only drinking reasonably well. It is not all that close to peak. If you appreciate real complexity, keep it in the cellar for another ten years, at the least. I am not convinced that this is a truly great Nacional, but that is a very high bar. It is still pretty close to brilliant.”

 

 

 

We have just declared a Quinta do Noval Vintage Port from 2013. We have done this kind of thing before, an “eccentric declaration” but actually I think it is the first time we have ever declared three Vintages in a row under the Quinta do Noval name. But I had no doubt in the tasting room that it was the right thing to do.

Christian Seely and António Agrellos in the tasting room

                        With António Agrellos in January this year tasting the 2013 Vintage

2013 could have been a much better year generally than it was: everything was looking great as the harvest began, and then it started to rain, which generally meant that we just missed making great wines from most of the vineyard, as once the rains starts, you are under such pressure from potential rot, that you just have to haul it all in as fast as possible, which means that in many cases you are not picking at optimal ripeness, which would have been later for many parcels, there can be an effect of dilution from the rain etc.. Having said all that, the overall quality was very good, just not as outstanding as it might have been.

With the exception of a few lots of wine we made in the first ten days of the harvest before the rains started.

Not all of these were actually of Vintage potential, but some of them most definitely were at Quinta do Noval. The wine we blended from the best of them shows what the 2013 Vintage might have been generally had the rain not come. The quantity of wine of the right quality was tiny – only 1,200 cases, or less than 3% of our production, but it is an authentic Quinta do Noval Vintage Port, a rare wine, being one of a small number of limited production quality wines from the 2013 harvest in the Douro, and I am very happy to be able to declare it. I am very confident it will be able to hold its head high in a vertical tasting in a few years’ time along with the other Quinta do Noval declarations from the past 20 years or so.

 

2014 Harvest in our properties: Conclusion

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER 5, 2014 CHRISTIAN SEELY 

The report of Cédric at Mas Belles Eaux finishes our harvest reports of 2014: we have now heard from each property.

In Bordeaux some marvelous results for the reds, classic fresh and balanced, in the style of the 2008s and the 2010s, and closer to the 10s than to the 08s. At Suduiraut, some great wines in the style of the 2001s and the 2011s, even if the quantity of Sauternes is very small.

In Burgundy also an excellent quality, and yields a little more correct than in the past few years.

In Tokaj, a difficult year, with very reduced yields, but a small production of very good Aszú wines.

In the Languedoc, the deluge just before the harvest complicated matters considerably, and reduced yields, but a very strict selection enabled us to make some good wines, particularly Grenache (red and white) and Syrah.

Finally, at Quinta do Noval, even if we just missed a very great Vintage on account of a week of rain during the harvest, some exceptional grapes were harvested before the rain, and even afterwards there are some very good wines, both Port wines and unfortified.

Globally, a favourable verdict on the 2014 vintage.

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History

Quinta do Noval made its name with the declaration of the 1931 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port, and the 1931 Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port, probably the most sensational Vintage Ports of the 20th century. 
Because of the global depression and the enormous production and shipment of the 1927 Vintage, most shippers did not declare the 1931. This success established Quinta do Noval among the great names of Vintage Port in the English and American markets, a leading position in terms of reputation which is maintained today.

 

Belonging to AXA Millésimes since 1993, Quinta do Noval is part of the prestigious viticultural patrimony made up of great names such as Disznókő in Tokaj, Hungary, and in France Château Pichon-Longueville in Pauillac, Château Suduiraut in Sauternes, Château Petit-Village in Pomerol, Domaine de l'Arlot in Burgundy and Mas Belles Eaux in the Languedoc region.

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Vineyards

Our Vintage Port comes from our vineyard. Our greatest wine, the Quinta do Noval Vintage Nacional Port, from a small parcel at the heart of that vineyard. All our activity is based at our Quinta, in the Douro Valley. Quinta do Noval is the only historic Port wine shipper to bear the name of its Quinta. The identity of Quinta do Noval is rooted in its terroir.

 

Since 1994, Quinta do Noval has replanted 100 hectares of the property with the noble grape varieties of the Douro, adapting plantation and pruning methods according to the needs of each parcel. 
Each plot has been planted with individual grape varieties suited to the terroir according to three principal criteria: altitude, exposition, and the type of planting required. 
Today the field blends, parcels with several mixed varieties, are progressively disappearing from the Douro Valley. 
Noval was a pioneer of this trend, and the first vineyard to replant and mechanise the old terraces on a large scale while retaining the magnificent stone walled terraces.

 

The domaine of 145 hectares which dominates the Pinhão Valley constitutes the heart and soul of Quinta do Noval. The soil is essentially made up of schistous rock, which makes all work in the vineyard particularly difficult.
Since 1994, Quinta do Noval has replanted 100 hectares of the domaine with the noblest grape varieties of the Douro, adapting pruning methods to suit each parcel. The parcels have been replanted in single grape variety plots, the varieties chosen to suit each individual parcel of land, according to three principal factors: the altitude, the exposition, and the type of planting of the vine.

 

Today 'field blends', parcels of several mixed grape varieties, are progressively disappearing from the Douro Valley. Noval was a pioneer in this trend, and the first to replant in this way at the same time conserving the magnificent old terraces with their walls of schistous stone. Because the varieties are planted in single varietal blocks, it is possible to pick the optimum moment for harvesting each parcel.

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Winemaking

What a commotion ... when September comes, the Douro Valley starts to bubble over and Quinta, normally so quiet, becomes unrecognisable: it’s harvest time at Quinta do Noval. For several weeks, Quinta buzzes with activity, as everyone tries to guess what sort of character of the newborn vintage will have.



Choosing the date when the picking starts is always a decision of crucial importance: for it is this choice which to a great extent dictates the potential of the vintage. It is generally during the second fortnight in August that they start to check the ripeness of the grapes. The final decision rests on two factors: the weather forecast, and the grapes’ degree of ripeness in each area of the vineyard. This is measured not only by looking at the grapes, but also by tasting them on the spot.



At Quinta do Noval, the grapes are picked exclusively by hand. The Rogas, grape pickers from the neighbouring mountains, pick them with the utmost care and then gather them in baskets which each hold 17 kilos. After a meticulous sorting process, the grapes are then transported by tractor to the Quinta cellar. It is there that they will be crushed, the first stage on their journey to the bottle …

 

After vinification comes the ageing stage. The wine, which is now in barrels or wooden vats, is pumped up so that the grape spirit added during the drawing-off phase will mix perfectly into the must. All the necessary analyses and adjustments are made over the next few weeks, so that the Port may then at last be left to rest on its lees ...

 

The first racking generally takes place four months later. At this stage the wine is tasted with particular attention, and some of the blending begins: the wines from the Ruby and Tawny categories are the first to be selected and blended. The most spectacular wines, meanwhile, will be left a little longer to refine their aromas separately, and it is only later, depending on how their qualities evolve, that they will be guided towards the Vintage or other prestige categories. 

 

Racking, which involves moving the wine from one container to another, plays an extremely important role in achieving the final quality. At Quinta do Noval, four rackings are carried out the first year, three the second year, and two the third year. Further racking then takes place whenever necessary, and sometimes younger wines are added at the same time as the racking in order to preserve all the freshness. What is the point of racking? It makes it easier to fill the various vats, prevents the wine from acquiring a bad taste, and more generally helps it evolve in the right direction. The Port is therefore prepared under the best possible conditions for the next stage: blending.

 

Noval Nacional is a wine that confirms something that is for me a deeply held belief. A wine is great because of the quality of the grapes, the character of the year and because of the place they come from. These things are far more important than anything we may do either in the vineyard or in the winery.We vinify the Nacional in the same way as the other grapes from the rest of the Quinta do Noval vineyard: foot treading in stone lagares, a simple if laborious procedure, and the result is always something very different for the Nacional wine compared with the wine from the rest of the Quinta. The Vintage Nacional is what it is because of the grapes and where they come from, not because of anything particular that we may do in the winery.

 

Always different, and with a distinctive personality, it does not necessarily follow the same rhythm as the rest of the vineyard. In 1996 for example, which was not a declared Vintage year for the rest of the Quinta do Noval vineyard, the Vintage Nacional was outstanding, and we decided to declare it.
There are also years when we declare great Quinta do Noval Vintage Ports, when the Nacional just does not sing, so we do not declare it. 2007 was an example of this.

Noval Nacional Vintages: 2011,2003, 2000, 1997, 1996, 1994, 1991, 1987, 1985, 1984, 1983, 1982, 1980, 

1978, 1975, 1970, 1967, 1966, 1964, 1963, 1962, 1960, 1958, 1955, 1950, 1945, 
1934, 1931

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Inside information

QUINTA DO NOVAL VINTAGE NACIONAL 2011

Although there is no such thing as an easy year in the Douro Valley, 2011 was a particularly challenging year in the vineyard. After a wet winter the weather was highly erratic from spring to autumn, with several extreme heat waves. Rain towards the end of August having provided the necessary moisture for maturation to resume its course, Noval gambled on postponing the harvest for a week for the grapes to reap the full benefit of this unhoped for precipitation and reach full maturity. 

With continued brilliant sunshine, this late harvest turned out to be an excellent decision. Once crushed in the lagares, the grapes revealed a wonderful deep colour, remarkable aromas and ideal sugar content and acidity: the sign of a year with immense potential.

“Very strong distinctive personality. Tannins powerful reserved and fine. Very intense long and concentrated fruits, explosive in the mouth, balanced and with great freshness. Brooding presence.”
António Agrellos, Technical Director - May 2013

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4 different wines with 45 vintages

Winemaking since 1715

  • Christian Seely

    Manager
    The name Quinta do Noval evokes for me above all a place. A magical place, an historic place. A piece of the earth capable of producing wines that are among the world’s greatest. The wines of Quinta do Noval express the greatness of this terroir.

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  8 wines 

Mouton Rothschild 1949 / A wine-making tour-de-force that caught by surprise in terms of the thrilling grandeur of the wine. Some Mouton mint, coffee and cassis abound on the stellar bouquet. There is such a thrilling vein of acidity to this wine, which as with the best 49’s, takes some of the ’47 richness and some of the ’45 concentration and intertwines elements of both with surpassing elegance, sophistication and aplomb. You have cassis, herbs, mocha and cinnamon all contributing to the fanfare at and past the mid palate. The tannins are soft but evident, so becomingly modest yet so assured. The layers of rich, round, vivid, vital flavors, the apogee of a great era, leave you bliss filled and transfixed. Plums, flowers and earth all alluringly come together on a long, almost lascivious finish. This is just magnificence. 100 Points

5m 17d ago

 Philip Tuck / Master of Wine, MW (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  10 wines 

"MY TOP 10 WINES OF 2016"

8m 17d ago

 Quinta do Noval  has news

Nacional 2001: Best Fortified Wine of the Year In his “best of 2016” round-up, The Wi  more ...

8m 21d ago

 Jan-Erik Paulson, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  11 wines 

I rarely award 100 points to a wine but here I did it for Ausone, Mouton Rothschild, Haut Brion, Margaux, Trotanoy, Lafleur, La Mission Haut Brion, 1968 Martha's Vineyard, 1961 Hermitage La Chapelle and 1963 Quinta do Noval Nacional. Thank you Robert for an unbelievable evening with the nicest of guests, a fantastic dinner at the marvelous Hotel Königshof in Munich. The wine service was, as always, impeccable led by the star sommelier Stephane Thuriot.

8m 30d ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  29 wines 

The tasting of the year - Vintage 1961 - 11 wines got full 100 points!

9m 19d ago

 Bob Thompson / Wine Writer, Pro (South Africa)  tasted  2 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  36 wines 

“Niepoort Vintage Port 1997 - 98 points / The best of the 1997 vintage - Opaque, purple colour with very pronounced and intense nose of medicinal tones, anise, violets, licorice, dark fruits, blackberries and spices. Full-bodied, moderate acidity and big stalky tannins are dominating this youngster. There is a very intense ripe dark fruitiness and violet-like flavours combinied with spicy aromas. An immensly long and warming finish with great balance. Superb wine with great future.”

1y 1m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  22 wines 

“The Vine Club's 1961 tasting: The two rarest and most expensive wines from '61 both come from Pomerol. Pétrus and Latour-á-Pomerol. Both are tremendously impressive - Latour-á-Pomerol with great sweetness, richness and concentration. Pétrus with similar richness but with even more power and structure. I have had the pleasure of drinking these two giants next to one another already few times, - I expect Pétrus to have the longer life expectancy. Vieux Château Certan is a wonderful mature wine as is Lafleur. A wine I also have found very good over the years is Château Gazin. It did then include grapes from a parcel of the best part of Pomerol, now belonging to Château Pétrus. Also the L'Evangile have a great reputation, and for good reason.”

1y 2m ago

 Guo Ying / Sommelier, Pro (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  14 wines 

“Port Vintage 1975 tasting / A widely declared vintage, attractive, elegant wines, though not likely to be as long lived as the 70s or 77s. Remarkable as the first vintage to be bottled strictly in Portugal by regulation – the end of centuries of shipping in cask for bottling at destination by distributors.

Viticultural and Weather Conditions
The summer of 1975 was long, hot and dry. By late August development was looking pretty backward due to the lack of rain. It rained heavily in early September and prospects for quality appeared excellent. It became quite hot again, with just a little more rain at the end of the month, which cleared away on the 30th, and then continued hot and dry for the remainder of the vintage. Harvest began 29th September in Rio Torto and 6th October elsewhere. Graduations were lower than expected however musts showed very well.

1y 4m ago

 Joseph Clark , Sommelier (Cuba)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  1 wines 

“Quinta do Noval Nacional 1963 - Hazy, tawny red colour with medium intensity. Extremely seductive nose – full of sweet dried fruits, dark chocolate and adorable perfumey tones with lovely dash of sweet spices. Full-bodied, sweet taste has super refined satiny texture which delicious acidity and velvety tannins. The opulence of sweet ripe fruits is immense. Appealing amount of spices is adding fascinating complexity into the wines harmonious long lingering finish. A perfect wine! It is impossible to find anything more to wish from the wine like this, only access to experience it as many times as possible during a lifetime. This wine is at its peak but will probably remain there for years to come. 99 points”

1y 7m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  14 wines 

“The 1000 Best wines-book launch tasting: Gaja Barbaresco 1958 /
A unique wine since Angelo Gaja claimed that this one has actually never been made. After seeing the picture of the bottle he realized that this wine was specially made by his father for him to celebrate his birth in 1958.
Very light, orangy brick red colour with plenty of sediments. According to Andreas Larssons words – this wine had amazingly intense oven-baked banana aromas in the glass. Then came more leathery, tarry and dried raisiny aromas. Also some volatility but not disturbingly much. Quite light although medium-bodied body weight with high acidity and mellow gentle tannins are combined nicely with sweet red fruits and high alcohol forming pleasant moderately long finish. Wine is definitely declining but still intense and very smooth.

1y 7m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  1 wines 

“Quinta do Noval 1827 - the most perfect Port wine - 100 points!
Medium intense, tawny colour. Very intense and rich nose delivering aromas such as caramelized beetroots, jammy cherries, hazelnuts, sweeten orange peel, dark chocolate, flowers, and cardamom. Full-bodied, intense glycerol-like mouthfeel, high alcohol, grinded cardamom flavours on palate. Powerful aftertaste is long, elegant and harmonious. Perfect balance with huge palette of flavours!”

1y 9m ago

 Quinta do Noval  has news

Nacional 2001: Best Fortified Wine of the Year In his “best of 2016” round-up, The Wi  more ...

1y 10m ago

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