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News

New labels for Quinta do Noval dry wines

To mark the release of the latest vintage, Quinta do Noval presents its new range of dry wines produced on the estate. This completely redesigned packaging follows the development and restructuring over recent years of the vineyard producing these wines. 

The labels and names of the wines have been modified and standardised in order to present the great diversity of grape varieties more clearly. There are now six wines available, of which three are blended wines and three single varietal wines: 

- Cedro do Noval white, Douro DOC: Named after the emblematic cedar tree that dominates the terrace at Quinta do Noval, this white Douro wine is made from traditional white grape varieties of the Douro Valley. The minerality of the schist vineyard is apparent in this cuvée with great depth and a distinctive personality. 

- Cedro do Noval red, Vinho Regional Duriense: This wine is an authentic expression of the Douro. Principally made up of Portuguese grape varieties, it also contains Syrah which rounds out the fruit and gives the wine tremendous charm and accessibility. 

- Quinta do Noval Touriga Nacional, Douro DOC (100% Touriga Nacional): Intense and concentrated, with fine tannic structure, this wine stands out for its delicacy, which is characteristic of the Quinta do Noval style. It is the product of a strict selection from the best lots produced by our Quinta in any given year. 

- Quinta do Noval Syrah, Vinho Regional Duriense (100% Syrah): Quinta do Noval proves with this cuvée that Syrah has been able to adapt perfectly to its environment. It expresses a personality here that is strongly marked by the Douro Valley rather than that of varietal Syrah, and offers beautiful balance, a fine texture and exceptional elegance. 

- Quinta do Noval Petit Verdot, Vinho Regional Duriense (100% Petit Verdot): Petit Verdot is a great variety of strong individual personality and enormous quality potential that needs sunshine and heat to ripen fully. It has adapted extremely well to the Douro, producing powerful wines with character and a balanced tannic structure that will allow them to age for years to come

- Quinta do Noval Reserva, Douro DOC: Very powerful and structured, it is outstanding for its finesse, a delicate character typical of the Quinta do Noval style. It is derived from a strict selection of the best batches of the Quinta’s various indigenous grape varieties. This wine is delicious when young and ages well in the cellar

 

 

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

One of the oldest port houses, Quinta do Noval is also arguably the greatest. It is unique among top port houses in that most of the ports are made from estate-grown fruit and, notably, all of the vintage Noval wines are from the single Quinta do Noval vineyard. In addition, it is difficult to elaborate on Quinta do Noval without mentioning Nacional, the legendary port made from a 6 acre parcel of ungrafted vines. When declared, only 200-300 cases of Nacional will be made, and instantly become the most sought after port in the world. Many vintages of Nacional are considered as the finest ports, and some of the finest wines, ever made.

 

Noval is mentioned in land registries going back to 1715, and has been sold just twice in that time, once in the late 19th century, and to its present owners in 1993. Noval has, however, a reputation for being an innovative, independent producer. Noval’s focus on its vineyard and estate ports distinguishes it, but there are numerous other areas in which it has been a pioneer:

 

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 was the first to introduce blended tawnies with an indication of average age.

– Noval introduced the first late-bottled vintage port, in 1958.-

– In response to a change in shipping laws in 1986, Noval became the first major port house to age, blend and store all its wines at its Quinta, in the Douro.

In 1994 Noval once again made a bold statement, by beginning a massive program of improvements, while re-committing to the traditional, and best, methods of port production. Namely:

– 60% of the estate’s vineyards were taken out, and the terraces were rebuilt and replanted with the best quality grape varieties.

– A new winery, warehouse and bottling facility were built, and the lodge (warehouse) at the Quinta was greatly improved.

– All grapes harvested at the estate are crushed by foot, in lagares that have been made smaller and modified to better control individual lots.

The astonishing terraced vineyards of Noval, perched above the Douro and Pinhao rivers, are an infertile schist, and not soil as much as sheer rock. The elevation of the vineyards goes from just above river level to 1,200 feet, with density at about 2,000 vines per acre, and vines producing on average 30-35 hectoliters per hectare. The tremendous rewards of the work done at the estate over the last fifteen years are visible across the range of Noval ports, and have placed Noval a step ahead of everyone in the Douro.

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7 different wines with 79 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.

Highlights

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Wine Moments

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 Stephen Tanzer, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  18 wines 

Petrus 1961 / Deep red-ruby color with an amber edge. Utterly singular perfumed, high-pitched aromas of loganberry, cherry and flowers. An awesomely concentrated wine of huge power and depth. Chewy with extract and wonderfully sweet and rich. Shows the strong iron note I often get from merlot on the Pomerol plateau, along with superripe suggestions of cherry liqueur and dark chocolate. Finishes with great grip and length, and a bit less sweetness than the middle palate would suggest. Drink now through 2020.

1m 23d ago

 Neal Martin, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  2 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  26 wines 

The 2017 Quinta do Noval Nacional, which was trodden under foot in lagares and matured in wood for 18 months, demands considerable aeration in the glass even after extended decanting. Eventually it offers an enthralling kaleidoscope of aromas of blackcurrants, clove, thyme and very subtle truffle aromas (not scents that I often find in young Vintage Port.) It is a mercurial bouquet that constantly shape-shifts in the glass. The palate is full-bodied with perfect balance. This is a faultless Vintage Port whatever way you look at it. From start to finish it conveys a sense of beguiling symmetry, a leitmotif of the 2017s, then astonishing energy and persistence towards the finish with cracked black pepper and clove liberally sprinkled over the vivacious black fruit. Sixty second after the wine has departed you can still feel its presence. This is an astonishing Nacional. Period.

6m 24d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  4 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  30 wines 

2018 Müller-Catoir Bürgergarten «Im Breumel» Riesling GG / Pale lemon yellow. Apples, subdued minerals, some pears, touch of gunpowder, touch floral, ripe lemons, faint, very faint grapefruits, some orange and orange flowers nose. Fresh acidity, smooth texture, apples, lemons, incredible balance of power, concentration and freshness, this is no Mustang. This is that comfortable Jaguar XK8 with just enough V8 power and torque to be incredibly quick yet never dramatic on twisting country roads, yet comfortable enough to swallow all the bumps. It will change the scenery very quickly, and you will be surprised at the speed it can do it. This is that sort of unparalleled effortlessness. So effortless you might very well miss it. You need to pay attention. A stunning GG. Truly long finish. This is all about refinement. If you seek power, go somewhere else. This is sophistication and dry Riesling at its best. So easy to overlook. 97

8m 21d ago

 Axel Probst, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  28 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  28 wines 

QUINTA DO NOVAL NACIONAL VINTAGE PORT 1931 –The most scarce and one of the best and most youthful matured Vintage Ports of the world: Very concentrated, but balanced toffee and fruity notes on the bouquet. Still some soft tannins with toffee, honey and malty notes on the palate. Very long and multi-layered aftertaste. This Port is far from being old and tired. What a pity that one does not have one or two cases to accompany its development in the future. 20p Now - 2100

9m 18d ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  4 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Cockburn's Vintage Port 1912 / Seven bottles of this remained. There are now four. A perfect vintage (not unlike 2007). Rupert Symington: In 1912 there was a note from one of the Grahams in the Symington archives complaining that they couldn’t get the price he sought because Cockburn had so definitively the highest price. The field blends from which ports this old were made meant they were made from a mix of ripe and underripe grapes.
Not quite clear. Yellowing deep tawny. Not as charming and alluring on the nose as the 1927. Definitely smudgy and a bit metallic. Not graceful but certainly concentrated, impressive and assertive. My bottle was slightly drying out. But it’s valiant to have lasted. A little hint of apple. The finish was very slightly hard. 18 points

9m 27d ago

 Quinta do Noval  has updated producer and wine information

11m 28d ago

 Julia Harding MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Niepoort Vintage Port 2017 / All from Cima Corgo. All field blends, including Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarela, Sousão, Tinta Roriz, etc, oldest vines 80–100 years. Any overripe grapes removed. 100% foot trodden with 100% stems. Press wine very important – like 'gold', says Niepoort. Not from all the vineyards just from his four favourite, eg Pisca. To be bottled June 2019.
Black cherry colour with narrow purple rim. Gorgeous pure hedgerow black fruit and no sense of the alcohol on the nose – it has been completely integrated with the fruit already. Ripe blackberry, elderberry and blackcurrant and a touch of spice, wild fruit. Incredibly intense on the palate but not showy and the tannins make it taste almost dry. Wonderful texture, great freshness, the tannins ‘sweep the sweetness out of the mouth’, as Mondavi once said to Niepoort. Incredible purity, freshness, intensity and harmony. I’ve put a start date of 2025 but this is ridiculously delicious now even though it clearly has massive potential longevity. An incredible dark, rocky purity with a long savoury finish, the fruit is intense but not ultra-fruity. This reminds me of the rocky Douro from which the wines come. Sheer beauty with hidden power. Glorious, very long, totally moreish even now.

11m 29d ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  23 wines 

Château d´Yquem 2005 / Yield of 12 hl/ha – almost record high levels! Quite deep gold. Wonderfully deep nose – never smelt anything as intense and glorious as this! Extraordinary!!! Deep yet lively. Exciting depth of pear juice and zest – tangerine peel too. Great astringency. 2001 was more concentrated. This is more transparent. Lovely dancing stuff, but already in the super-nuanced Yquem idiom. Lighter than some vintages but with great lacy complexity. Wonderful green, lively notes and some real explosiveness – 13.5 per cent. Energy drink! Coiled like a taut spring.

1y 3d ago

 Francisca Mendoza, Wine Importer (Argentina)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  10 wines 

Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port 2011 / This red leads off with exquisite notes of vanilla and toast, framing black cherry, blackberry, cedar and iron flavors. Ripe and powerful, yet polished and silky, with dense tannins well-integrated into the structure. The fruit returns in the end, along with a licorice note. A superb young version, showing fine potential.

1y 4m ago

 Christer Byklum  tasted  3 wines  from  Quinta do Noval . In a tasting of  3 wines 

Lovely pre tasting of Quinta do Noval before declaration today at Château Pichon Longueville Baron last week where I happened to be lucky enough to sit next to Christian Seely. He planned to show the Noval's to the Spanish importer and I was just at the right place at the right time. Superb stuff these ones!

1y 6m ago

 Quinta do Noval  has news

New labels for Quinta do Noval dry wines To mark the release of the latest vintage, Quinta do Nov  more ...

1y 8m ago

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