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    THE DELIGHTFUL EIGHT – LIMITED EDITION VINTAGE PORTS

    There is little in the wine-world which is as exclusive as Vintage Port from a fully declared year. “3 times per decade” was the magic rule, so fully declared Vintage Port is scarce. Even scarcer since in smaller numbers are the Limited Edition Vintage Ports. Normally harvested from small parcels with old vines within the respective Quinta, the microclimates of these plots produce even more special wines. So special, that some producers decided not to blend them into their Vintage Ports, but to bottle separately. Therefore these Limited Edition Vintage Ports are not bound to the years of General declaration and do in fact quite often vary from them.

    Owning Quintas for generations, the Port families and leading viticulturalists know exactly their Quinta’s sweet-spots and mostly used these grapes to spice up the blend. In great years these special locations were always the backbone of the Vintage Port. Then, very slowly, producers began to fully understand the potential of bottling these areas by themselves in tiny quantities.

    But why produce an even more special Port when the regular Vintage Port represents only 2-5% of the Harvest every other year? Because the wine market demands it and the reputation of the Port houses profits from it tremendously. Although being declared every other year, Vintage Port is not expensive if you compare them to big wines from other famous wine production areas. Fantastic years from big producers rarely hit the shelf with a three digit number price when released. Many times just half of it and their production - even from bigger houses - is rather measured in ten- than hundred thousands of bottles. I am quite sure that there will be more names in the near future to join the “Limited Edition Vintage Port Club”.

    Unfortunately it is quite easy to mistake Limited Edition Vintage Ports with the Single Quinta Vintage Ports. Where Limited Edition Vintage Ports are seen superior to the regular Vintage Port, the Single Quinta Vintage Ports are normally bottled if the grape quality is very good, but not exceptional. Sometimes, e.g. with Taylors, Noval and Croft, the labels do look very much alike and have only a small name attached to the regular label (e.g. Vinhas Velhas, Nacional or SERIKOS).

    The Original – Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port

    First and still “primus inter pares” is famous Quinta do Noval with their Vintage Port Nacional. With less than two hectares, the most expensive Vintage Port very often does not follow the rules of the general declaration. “We bottle Nacional only when it sings” says Noval’s MD, Christian Seely. Approximately 6.000 ungrafted vines produce a very small amount of bottles (in 2017 Noval produced 3.000 bottles of Nacional) and whenever a new Nacional is released to the market, it is almost immediately sold out. The first Noval Nacional was bottled in 1931 and this is probably the rarest and most expensive bottle of Vintage Port in the world. Other years of production are 1934, 1945, 1947, 1950, 1955, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1954, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1975, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1994, 1996 (LR), 1997, 1998 (LR), 1999 (LR), 2000, 2001 (LR), 2003, 2004 (LR), 2011, 2016, 2017, 2019 (LR = Late Releases)[1]

    QUINTA DO NOVAL VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 2011 – Intense violet reflections in the almost pitch-dark colour. Amazingly concentrated with cassis, liquorice, chocolate and white pepper in the balanced bouquet. Intense structure with perfectly supporting acidity and a fantastic length on the palate. Long and spectacular aftertaste. Child #2 of the legendary 1963. 99

    QUINTA DO NOVAL VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1994 – Extremely dark-red colour. White pepper, red-berry fruit and a spice mix on the underlying expressive nose. The 94 has not fully woken up yet. Tannic palate with white pepper, raspberry, plums and milk chocolate. Long aftertaste with a lot of finesse. Child #1 of the legendary 1963 98+

    QUINTA DO NOVAL VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1963 – This is the Vintage Port which most people would like to take to their lonely island. High-scores everywhere and so much life ahead that it almost frightens you: The colour is easily 10-20 years younger of what you would expect. Deep, dark-red colour with lots of reflections. Perfectly balanced bouquet with finesse and intensity. Long and multi-layered aftertaste. Tasted last year at the Quinta. Port-Heaven! 100

     

    Next in line: Taylors Vargellas – Vinhas Velhas (VVV)

    Alike the Noval Nacional the Taylors VVV does not strictly follow the General Declaration years. Since its first year of production in 1995 (no General Declaration, great Ports though), vintages 1997, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2017 followed. Most of the grapes are picked from four different very old plots at Vargellas with different altitudes. All of these four plots (Polverinho, Renova do Depósito, Renova do Armazém and Gricha) are either North- or Nortwest-facing and produce fresh and concentrated Ports. Head-enologist David Guimaraens states: “The remarkable characteristic of the Vinha Velha Vintage Ports is their multi-dimensional complexity and their distinctive and subtle personality. This derives from the rich diversity of grape varieties planted on these old terraces, many of which are traditional varieties not widely used today.”

    VINTAGE PORT VARGELLAS VINHAS VELHAS 2017 – The first VVV after 2011, hence the longest gap since 1995: Violet reflections in the pitch-dark colour. Reductive spicy fruit, the nose shows that there are lots of layers underneath. Tobacco, cherry, dark chocolate and redcurrant. Fantastic complexity on the palate with white pepper, tobacco, lots of red-berry fruit and cherry. Perfectly structured tannins and acidity. Long, multi-layered aftertaste. A little more than 5.000 bottles. 96

    VINTAGE PORT VARGELLAS VINHAS VELHAS 2011 – Also from a fantastic year, this VVV shows a deep, dark-red colour. Same stylistic on the bouquet with a complex, but balanced spicy fruit. Raspberry, chocolate, white pepper, tobacco and cherry with very nice integrated acidity. Long and adstringent aftertaste. 95

    VINTAGE PORT VARGELLAS VINHAS VELHAS 2007 – If you taste this side-by-side with the regular Taylors Vintage Port from the same year, it immediately reveals that this is his bigger brother: Floral, complex nose with tobacco, cherry and blackcurrant. Concentrated and intense on the palate, the bouquet is reductive in the beginning, but develops very nicely with every minute aerating. After two hours: fantastic complexity with cherry, chocolate and liquorice. Long aftertaste. Port of the vintage. 94

     

    Quinta do Tedo – Savedra Vintage Port

    Already in 2000 the Bouchard family decided to bottle the small Savedra-plot by itself and not to blend it into the Vintage Ports. Exposed almost fully south and very close to the river, Savedra only produces Port as winemaker Jorge Alves uses to say: “In the first years we have left too many raisins in the blend, but learned this with further harvests”. Years of Savedra production were 2000, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Savedra directly faces Dirk Niepoorts Quinta de Napoles on the easterly side of the Rio Tedo.

    VINTAGE PORT SAVEDRA 2017 – Intense violet Reflexes in the almost black colour. Fresh-floral bouquet with elegant liquorice, cassis and tobacco. Present ripe tannins and very good supporting acidity. Fresh red-berry fruit, cherry and chocolate. Long aftertaste with a hint astringency. 93

    VINTAGE PORT SAVEDRA 2000 – Transparent dark-red colour. Fresh-fruity nose with noticeable acidity. Cherry, plum and chocolate, a hint jammy with some mineral notes. Complex and structured palate with chocolate and hints of plum. Very fine tannins. Long and fresh aftertaste. Already developed. 91

     

     

    Niepoort Pisca/Bioma Vintage Port

    With the harvest 2007 two more big names in the Port world joined the “Limited Edition Vintage Port-Club”: The Symingtons at their Quinta do Vesuvio and Dirk Niepoort with his Pisca Vintage Port. Niepoort bought the vineyard Pisca in 2003, but its grapes have been part of their Vintage Ports for a very long time. With some 7,5 hectares, Dirk Niepoort’s intention was to prevail the uniqueness of the vineyard with bottling Pisca/Bioma rather than selling it as a Edition Vintage Port. He started in 2007 with “Pisca”, but due to some legal constrains he re-named this to “Bioma” in the years 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016. With the fantastic harvest 2017 Niepoort finally decided to bottle it as “BIOMA – Vinha da Pisca” and to sell this on a Noval-Nacional Price level. The production varies between 2.000 and 5.000 bottles and the Pisca vineyard is situated between the beautiful Quinta do Crasto and Quinta Nova on the north side of the Douro. Vinha da Pisca lies approximately 150 meters higher than the Douro, but being fully south facing and framed by the surrounding terraces, temperatures in the vineyards are often higher than close to the river. “You only can make fantastic Ports, but no still wines there. Port vineyards like exaggerated conditions” Dirk Niepoort states. Bioma Vinha da Pisca is also one of the few exceptions which uses the maximum legal ageing for Vintage Ports in cask for up to three years before bottling.

    VINTAGE PORT BIOMA VINHA DA PISCA 2017 – Deep violet reflections in the concentrated, dark-red colour. Rustic, complex bouquet with tobacco, liquorice and tar, balanced red berry fruit. Rough, ripe tannic structure in the palate with perfectly supporting acidity. Cassis, cherry, chocolate and liquorice. Long and multi-layered aftertaste. Fantastic old school Port. 99

    VINTAGE PORT BIOMA 2011 – Dark-red colour. Intense, but balanced spicy bouquet with cherry, blackcurrant and tobacco. Noticeable tannic structure on the palate, chocolate, red-berry-fruit mix with a spicy background. Long and complex aftertaste. Great ageing potential. 97

    Hidden ChampionVINTAGE PORT BIOMA 2008 - Although 2008 was a rather cool year and produced somewhat one-dimensional Ports elsewhere, the 2008 Bioma Vintage Port shows a fantastic liveliness: Already somewhat transparent colour at the rim with little reflexes. Seductive floral bouquet with some hints of cassis, vanilla, tobacco and cherry. Perfectly integrated acidity in the palate with cherry, chocolate, hints of cassis and white pepper. Long aftertaste, very nicely supported by the acidity. 94

     

     

    Vesuvio Capela de Vesuvio

    Also in 2007 winemaker Charles Symington chose three top parcels within the Quinta do Vesuvio: Vinha da Capela, Vinha da Escola and Vale da Teja to produce a Limited Edition Vintage Port. With an average of 3.500 bottles in the years 2007, 2011, 2016 and 2017 Capela de Vesuvio perfectly shows this combination of concentration and freshness. The century-old field blend of Vinha da Capela, longer skin contact in smaller lagares add concentration and the freshness is received from the Vinha da Escolha, which lies much lower between the house and the railway.

    VINTAGE PORT 2017 CAPELA – Deep, dark red colour with medium intense violet reflections. The nose reveals cherry, cassis, milk chocolate and precise minerality. Perfectly supporting acidity and ripe tannins on the palate, nice structured casiss, black currant, green tea and liquorice. Long, fruit-driven aftertaste. 97(2019)

    VINTAGE PORT 2016 CAPELA – Tight, almost black colour. White pepper, a mix of red-berry fruit and tobacco on the nose. Slightly sharp, but fresh palate with cherry, chocolate and fresh tobacco. Long aftertaste. 94

     

    Born in one of the biggest years in the 21st Century: Grahams The Stone Terraces

    “Two small 18th century schist stone-terraced vineyards at Graham’s flagship Quinta dos Malvedos have constantly produced extraordinary Ports” Henry Shotton stated when asked about the origins of “The Stone Terraces Vintage Port”. “Port Arthur”, a 1,2 hectar plot east-facing at around 110 meters altitude and “Vinha dos Cardenhos”, just 0,6 hectares, facing west and perfectly surrounded by stone walls, are the two chosen plots, providing just 3.000 vines in total. Although planted in the old vinhas velhas style, Touriga Nacional is the predominant grape of the two vineyards. “None of these vineyards is facing south, which enables us to bottle a Port not only with a huge concentration, but also some balancing freshness” says Charles Symington.

    VINTAGE PORT 2011 „THE STONE TERRACES“ – Almost black colour with a violet rim. Fresh and spicy bouquet with chocolate, violets, tobacco and white pepper, the red-berry fruit is currently  reductive. Soft and structured palate with an intensive complexity, ripe tannins and a perfectly integrated acidity. Chocolate, cherry, violets, plums and tobacco. Long, fantastically structured, multy-layered aftertaste. Only 3.000 bottles produced. 98+

    VINTAGE PORT 2017 „THE STONE TERRACES“ – The most recent Vintage Port differs a bit from the classic line of the three predecessors. Bright violet reflections in the dark-red, almost black colour. Mango and passionfruit in the nose, behind this the classic cassis- and dark-berry aromas and milk-chocolate. The palate transports the tropical fruit of the nose to the tongue, noticeable ripe tannic structure, tobacco and liquorice. Long, complex and fresh aftertaste. A bit funky, but on a very high level. 96

     

     

    A bit under the radar – Ferreira Vinhas Velhas Vintage Port

    Just once and just 4.000 bottles, Ferreira launched the 2016 Vinhas Velhas Vintage Port in certain markets a little bit after the regular Ferreira Vintage Port. Also belonging to the Sogrape Group, Ferreira and Offley always have to bow for their bigger company-brother Sandeman and are always a bit left in the shadow, so that some countries did not have a proper introduction to the market.

    Ferreira’s top enologist Luis Sottomayor has planned the Vintage Port Vinhas Velhas project already for some years and was only happy with the grape quality in 2016 with grapes originating mainly from Quintas do Porto and do Caêdo. Vinhas Velhas actually means “old vines”, but rather corresponds to the mixed plantations that the old generations used in the Douro Valley and are still in effect nowadays. To spice up the VV blend, Sottomayor selected an additional of 5% Sousao for colour and acidity and 10% Touriga Nacional for fruit and freshness.

    VINTAGE PORT 2016 VINHAS VELHAS – Big, matt dark-red colour. Liquorice, tobacco, cassis, violets and milk-chocolate on the very complex, but balanced bouquet which is getting more complex with every minute “on air”. Strong, juicy and spicy red-berry fruit, milk-chocolate, liquorice and firm tannins. Extremely long and multi-layered finish. A terrific start into the world of Limited Edition Vintage Ports. 97

     

    Croft Quinta da Roêda SERIKOS Vintage Port

    Vintage 2017 generated the last and most recent member in the Limited Edition Vintage Port-family. The parcels Benedita, Ferradura and Galeria contain the oldest vines (planted between 1889 and 1900) and always produced very intense Ports at Croft’s Quinta da Roêda. Therefore head-winemaker David Guimaraens picked the grapes for the Sērikos exactly from these areas. The name reflects a dark part of the history of the quinta, since it was almost transferred to a silk plantation, but luckily the vines prevailed. Produced from the famous five grape varieties Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinto Cao, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Roriz, Guimaraens states: “The first Sērikos has all the typicity of Roêda, with its opulence, silky texture and fine scented quality.”

    VINTAGE PORT 2017 SERIKOS – Black-violet colour with little reflections. Complex, but little reductive bouquet, which does not show everything it will offer in the future yet. Cherry, cassis, violets and tobacco. Soft, multi-layered palate with fresh coffee, cassis, cherry and a perfectly supporting acidity. Long, complex, multi-layered aftertaste. 2.425 bottles. 98

     

     

     

     

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    All of the tasting notes on tastingbook.com of the wine critic mentioned above come from press releases from wine importers or wineries and can also be found on the critic’s own website, which can be easily accessed by clicking the link on the right.

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    My Yesterday

    Port’s Holy Grail: Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port 

    Despite some highs and lows in its history, Quinta do Noval holds a special place in the heart and mind of Port lovers worldwide. And although the Quinta does produce amazing Colheita Ports, structured and balanced Douro Reds as well as fantastic Vintage Ports the prestigious Noval Nacional Vintage Port stands above them all.

    A quick Journey through time: in the early 1930s most English wine merchants filled their cellars with the fantastic 1927 Vintage Ports and due to the financial crisis there was little to no motivation to purchase Vintage Ports from the early 30s with a presumably lower reputation. During those worst conditions Noval bottled the first Vintage Port and Nacional with its own label: 1931. Only few other Companies produced Vintage Ports from this year, amongst them Calem (a very good matured Vintage Port), Ramos Pinto (now perfect) and Niepoort’s Garrafeira (legendary). UK dominated houses like Warre, Fonseca, Graham, Dow, Taylor or Cockburn did not bottle at all. Members of the van Zeller family, Owner of the Quinta at the time, told me that the main reason to bottle this port was a UK importer, who strongly demanded this year. Nowadays this Noval 1931 or the even more scarce Nacional 1931 almost vanished from the planet. I would believe that there are less than 50 bottles of the Nacional and not many more of the Noval Vintage Port left. This leads to the fact that the world of Port lovers has two groups: one which has very much enjoyed the two Ports and the other which would like to have. Quinta do Noval Nacional 1931 would be the rarest and most expensive Vintage Port ever.

    Until the 1960s very few years were selected to bottle the Nacional. From 1960 on this changed somewhat and Noval was able to produce some very good regular Noval Vintage Ports and fantastic Nacionals. Primus inter pares from the 60 decade would be the 1963 Nacional, which is the first to live up to the legendary 1931. This Port is my personal benchmark when it comes to give the highest scores to Port. But many other Nacionals are not far behind, the 1966 and the 1967 do belong to the best Ports in the world. Unfortunately after 1970 the quality began to drop remarkably and together with some bad management decisions (Noval preferred to bottle the 1978s over the 1977s) the Quinta’s reputation began to decline. Although many years from the 1980s all the way to 1991 were bottled either as Noval Vintage Ports or Nacional (or both), these Ports do not live up the expectations from the 1960s. Only after the takeover of the AXA Insurance company in 1993 (one of the worst years in Port history) and the appointment of Christian Seely as its General Manager, Noval was immediately catapulted back to its former strength. From 1994 on both Vintage Ports were back on track, received fantastic reviews in the wine magazines with the Nacional being back to the superb reputation that it owned in the past. Fantastic years with fantastic Nacional Ports from 1997, 2000, 2003, 2011 and - just very recently - 2016 followed. Also in years, where the big Port houses did not declare a Vintage Port, Noval released a number of very good Nacionals, amongst them 1996, 1999, 2001 and 2004.

    In years, where there are enough grapes available to make a very good Vintage Port, Noval also bottles a “second label” Vintage Port, the Noval Silval Vintage Port. These Ports normally do not age more than 30 years, but do have a fantastic price-value relation, since they are sold much cheaper than the regular Noval Vintage Ports.

    Although producing the mystic Nacional and superb Noval Vintage Ports, the Quinta also produces amazing Tawny Ports, old Colheitas, such as 1937, 1964 or 1976 as well as the 10, 20 and 40 year old Tawny Ports (Noval does not bottle a 30y old Tawny).

     

    Quinta do Noval Nacional

    With just 6.000 vines on 1,7 ha the most expensive Vintage Port is produced. Expensive for two reasons: Breath-taking Vintage Ports in very small numbers. Everywhere else Noval’s vines (and almost all other producer’s vines) are put on American rootstocks, but the Nacional parcel is not grafted and there were never problems with phyloxera. Whenever a new Nacional is released to the market, it is immediately sold out and its price triples within days. No wonder, in 2016 only 1.000 bottles were produced and half of it is held back at the Quinta.<<

     

    TASTING NOTES:

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 2016 – Black colour with very intense violet reflexions. Amazingly dense bouquet with cassis, chocolate, tobacco and a red-berry mix, minty notes in the back of the palate. The same complexity on the palate with a medium strong tannic structure and perfectly supporting acidity. Cherry, cassis and blackberry fruit and spicy notes, which last minutes. Long, complex and fascinating aftertaste with some astringency. 20Drink from 2040 – 2100+

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 2011 – Intense violet reflections in the almost black colour. Very deep and concentrated bouquet. Liquorice, cassis, white pepper and chocolate. The palate continues what the bouquet starts: perfectly supporting acidity with strong, ripe tannins and a fantastic length and balance. This will be the logical successor to the 1963 Nacional. 20Drink from 2050 - 2100+

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 2004 – This was a rather fresh year in the Douro valley with little declaration of other houses. Noval however did produce the Vintage Port and released the Nacional some ten years afterwards: Deep dark-red colour. Intense and fresh palate with cherry, blackberry and chocolate. Long, complex aftertaste. 18+Drink 2030 to 2070

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 2003 – From a hot and classic year this Nacional is still black with full violet reflexes. Very strong, but precise mineral and red-berry nose. The palate reveals an excellent tannic and acidic structure, paired with chocolate and red berry fruit. Balanced and very long in the aftertaste. 192040 - 2100

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 2001 – Deep dark-red colour. Complex bouquet with strong tobacco notes and cassis. Freshness on the palate, floral and mint aromas with noticeable tannins. The aftertaste is long and fresh. 182030 - 2070

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 2000 – Black colour with red and violet reflections. Fruity and complex nose with lots of liquorice and blueberry with a strong underlying complexity. The palate shows a fantastic fruity structure, some sweetness and perfectly supporting acidity. Concentrated and long in the aftertaste with a somewhat dry finish. 19Now until 2070

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1999 –My favourite „late-release“ Nacional. Almost black, very opaque colour. Very complex and strong in the bouquet without any feeling of over-extraction, Cassis, Cherry and Milk chocolate. The same fruit continues on the palate with a very good supporting tannic-structure and perfectly integrated acidity. Long and multi-layered aftertaste. 192025 - 2070

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1997 – This is presumably the Nacional with the overall highest scores and with reason: Opaque, deep violet-red colour. Full and complex bouquet with chocolate, tobacco, cherry and cassis. Intense, but balanced on the palate with great support from tannins and acidity, still some primary red-berry fruit with spicy notes. Complex aftertaste with a lot of finesse. 20Now - 2100

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1996 – Tasted at the “Portwine Day”(10 September) in Porto. Dense and deep dark red colour. Balanced in the bouquet with underlying complexity, red-berry fruit. The palate is as well in the “sleeping phase” right now. White pepper, cassis, cherry and blackberry, spicy in the back. Long aftertaste. 182030 - 2060

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1994 – This is Nacional at its best: Extremely deep, dark-red colour. Although partially in its sleeping phase, one can feel the complexity in the bouquet with white pepper, raspberry, blackberry and tobacco. The palate still shows massive tannins, which are in line with the complexity of the palate. Long aftertaste which does not show its amplitudes as it used to due to the reductive phase. 202025 - 2100

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1991 – I have had the chance to taste this Port numerous times and it never impressed me at all. Very mature reddish colour with orange reflexes. I never came across a bottle without the vegetal notes in the bouquet, a bit like bitter vegetable soup, some fruit in the background. The palate continues with volatile acidity, toasty notes, bitterness and chocolate notes. Short aftertaste with caramel. Maybe the biggest disappointment of a Nacional. 15Drink up

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1987 – I was able to taste the 87 together with the 85 and the 78 quite recently at the Quinta and they all fail to impress for what it is: Transparent, dark-red colour. Coffee and malty notes in the elegant nose. Noticeable acidity on the palate, coffee and some red-berry fruit. Better than the 85 though. 17Now - 2030

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1986 – I have never seen this with a proper label, but had the chance to taste this with the Danish Port-Club in Porto. Medium red colour. Elegant bouquet with some milk-chocolate, coffee and tobacco. Tired on the palate and somewhat dry. Medium length on the palate. 16Drink up

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1985 – Fully transparent medium red. The nose reveals malty notes and some volatile acidity. Malty also on the palate, some raisins with a certain spiciness. Medium long aftertaste. We actually opened three bottles to get to this. 17Now - 2025.

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1983 –This is probably the best Nacional from the 1980s. Transparent dark-red colour. Classically aged Vintage Port bouquet with malty notes, coffee and some remaining red-berry fruit. Surprisingly intense on the palate with the rather typical minty notes of some older Nacionals. Long and well-structured in the aftertaste. 17+Now – 2030

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1982 –Alike with the 85 we needed to open three bottles. Cloudy red colour. Very, very elegant nose with mild fruit and some spicy notes. Also on the palate very far developed and very (too) elegant. Short, but rather pleasant aftertaste. 17Drink up

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1980 – Transparent medium-red colour with a noticeable rim. Elegant nose with malty and minty notes, tobacco in the background. Soft and balanced palate with malt, chocolate, spicy notes and honey. Rather long in the aftertaste. 17Now - 2015

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1978 – Fresh red colour with some brown notes on the rim. Coffee, malt and chocolate in the nose. Soft and balanced palate with coffee and hints of minty notes. Short aftertaste. If you still have bottles in your cellar, do not wait until its 50thbirthday. 17Drink up

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1975 – Very clean medium red colour. Raisins and milk-chocolate in the bouquet. Some supporting acidity on the rather elegant palate, toffee and caramel, some floral notes. Short aftertaste. 17Drink up

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1970 – One of the stars of this amazing year: Fully transparent dark-red colour. Fresh(!) and spicy bouquet, complex and balanced with decent tobacco flavours in the background. Soft and complex on the palate with coffee, malt and some chocolate and cherry. Long, very long aftertaste. 19Now - 2050

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1967 – It took me a while to understand this Port as I thought for a long time that it was lagging fruit and body, but since the last 10 years it does show marvellous: Deep red colour. Although matured, this Port appears to be roughly ten years younger than expected: Plums, mineral notes and chocolate in the nose, mixed herbs in the background. Deep, complex and structured on the palate, plum, cherry, hints of spearmint, chocolate and tobacco. Long and complex aftertaste. 19 Now - 2060

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1966 – Another fantastic Noval Nacional: Almost youthful deep-red colour. Precise and intense on the bouquet with malt, honey and chocolate. The palate reveals tobacco, malt and caramel, lots of pressure and complexity with fantastically integrated and supporting acidity. Long, multi-layered aftertaste. The 66 and 67 follow the legendary 1963 and are just very little behind. 20Now - 2070

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1964 – From an off-year with very little declaration of other producers: Fully transparent, red colour. Malt, honey, menthol, black tea and chocolate. Soft and somewhat creamy on the palate, minty notes, milk chocolate and toffee. Long and structured on the aftertaste. 18Now - 2030

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1963 – I believe if there ever is a book on a single Vintage Port, this would be the Port to write about. I never read a comment about this Port where it did not achieve the highest of possible points. Incredible young red colour with almost no rim. Balanced, but structured and complex nose with coffee, toffee and chocolate, even still some residual red-berry fruit. Also full and complex on the palate, an explosion of coffee, toffee and minty notes. Although the palate takes you on a rollercoaster-ride, the aftertaste is even longer and perfectly balanced. This is my Port, that I would take to my lonely island (preferably in a Double Magnum). 20Now – 2100+

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1962 – Also from a year, where only very few producers have bottled a Vintage Port: Brown reflections on the mid-red colour. Intense coffee and malty notes on the nose. Noticeable and supporting acidity on the palate with coffee and toffee. Medium long in the aftertaste.18Now - 2030

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1960 – Although my only tasting notes originates from a mid-shoulder bottle, this Port was surprisingly fresh: Fully opaque, medium red colour. Almond, malt and coffee in the nose, balanced and structured. Perfectly matured palate with coffee, malt and some raisins. Long and complex aftertaste. 18Now - 2040

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1955– Very small rim in the medium red colour. Intense malt and honey on the bouquet which develops perfectly with more time in the decanter. Balanced and intense on the palate with toast, malt and minty notes. Long and strong aftertaste. 19Now - 2040

     

    VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 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. 20 Now - 2100

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    Born in one of the greatest Vintage Port years - 1970, Axel succeeded in becoming European Champion in 100m Backstroke during his early years. He graduated from School in 1989 and studied Business Administration, which he successfully finished with a Master Degree (German: DiplomKaufmann). He joined the Air-Force and became a Pilot, flying the Tornado and the Eurofighter aircraft. Axel retired from the Air-Force in 2011 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

     In the early 1990s during his flying training in the United Kingdom, Axel very much appreciated the English tradition of finishing the evening with a decent glass of Vintage Port – a habit, which he has not missed ever since. With a short detour in trading with Bordeaux’ wines in Germany in the Mid 90s, Axel contacted the Instituto do Vinho do Douro e do Porto in 2005 to become their focal point for Germany. Since then he organised many large tastings under the umbrella of the IVDP, most recently a tasting of the 2016 Vintage Ports with more than 50 Producers present in Germany, a comparative tasting of the Colheita Vintages 1937 and 1995 and many Master Classes in Douro DOC and Port.

     Axel teaches at the major Wine-Universities Geisenheim and Heilbronn in Germany and writes articles for WeinWisser, Weinwirtschaft and Vinum, some of the few remaining real wine-journals in the German language as well as for the World of Fine wines in the UK. He is the organiser and lecturer of the Port- and Douro Seminars held Pro-Wein in Germany, one of the most important wine-fairs of the world. Axel just published a solid book on Port for the German market, which just won the Gourmand Awards “Best European Wine Book in 2018. He is a Cavalero do Confraria do Vinho do Porto and a certified Sherry Educator from the Consejo Regulador in Jerez. In September 2013 Axel convinced the 25 major Port Shippers to unify in a Project to produce a unique Vintage Port that has never been produced before, which 100.000-Euro-profit was donated to charity (www.o-port-unidade.com). Axel Probst is married with two children.

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Axel Probst/BWW2022 - Best Port Wine Ctitic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  had a tasting of  8 Wines  from  3 Producers 

QUINTA DO NOVAL VINTAGE PORT NACIONAL 1963 – This is the Vintage Port which most people would like to take to their lonely island. High-scores everywhere and so much life ahead that it almost frightens you: The colour is easily 10-20 years younger of what you would expect. Deep, dark-red colour with lots of reflections. Perfectly balanced bouquet with finesse and intensity. Long and multi-layered aftertaste. Tasted last year at the Quinta. Port-Heaven! 100

7m 11d ago

Axel Probst/BWW2022 - Best Port Wine Ctitic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  had a wine moment

“This is the only non-declared year (at least from the Symintons) where a “Stone Terraces” Vintage Port was bottled. Due to this fact, the 2015 is pricewise somewhat “under the radar” as the Category Premium Vintage Port will be much stronger in the near future. Symington’s enologists Charles Symington and Henry Shotton picked two top spots of Graham’s prestigious Quinta dos Malvedos to source the grapes for the Stone Terraces Ports. Even against top 2017 Vintage Ports this Stone Terraces 2015 shows perfectly well and has everything for a long and bright future ahead: Brilliant deep dark color. Complex fruity bouquet with a basket full of berries, cassis and chocolate – extremely seductive. Firm tannins and perfectly supporting acidity on the palate, fresh red-berry fruit, cherry and chocolate. Long and balanced in the aftertaste. The challenge now is to leave some of the 4.800 bottles (no Magnums, no Tappit Hens) in the cellar... 19/20”

1y 10m ago

1 Wines 1 Producers

Axel Probst/BWW2022 - Best Port Wine Ctitic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  had a wine moment

“When it comes down to Port one needs to blow in his own trumpet to create some attention. Even better if you have a full orchestra at hand… The first two Kingsman movies were James Bond alike “very british”, so that a decent glass of Port is rather fitting for the third part (in cinemas February 2021). The price could be open for discussion, but it is a fascinating Port and a fantastic PR (0,5 Liter decanter for 3.600 EUR with just 700 bottles made): Deep dark core in the dark-red colour with orange reflections. Fantastically intense and balanced bouquet with a variety of nuts, coffee, caramel, figs and milk-chocolate. Despite the complexity, everything appears very well balanced. The palate continues the nose perfectly with a perfect equilibrium of acidity and sweetness (very hard to find in old Ports):

Malt, orange-peel, pepper and hints of balsamico. Complex and very long aftertaste. Head winemaker David Guimaraens blended this Port from very old casks and used averagely 90 year old Ports. I am quite sure that Eggsy will properly enjoy this. Further information on: https://www.taylor.pt/us/port-wine/kingsman-edition 19/20”

1y 11m ago

1 Wines 1 Producers

Axel Probst/BWW2022 - Best Port Wine Ctitic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  had a tasting of  28 Wines  from  1 Producers 

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

2y 6d ago

Axel Probst/BWW2022 - Best Port Wine Ctitic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany) is a new member of Tastingbook.

“Born in one of the greatest Vintage Port years - 1970, Axel succeeded in becoming European Champion in 100m Backstroke during his early years. He graduated from School in 1989 and studied Business Administration, which he successfully finished with a Master Degree (German: Diplom Kaufmann). He joined the Air-Force and became a Pilot, flying the Tornado and the Eurofighter aircraft. Axel retired from the Air-Force in 2011 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In the early 1990s during his flying training in the United Kingdom, Axel very much appreciated the English tradition of finishing the evening with a decent glass of Vintage Port – a habit, which he has not missed ever since. With a short detour in trading with Bordeaux’ wines in Germany in the Mid 90s, Axel contacted the Instituto do Vinho do Douro e do Porto in 2005 to become their focal point for Germany. Since then he organised many large tastings under the umbrella of the IVDP, most recently a tasting of the 2016 Vintage Ports with more than 50 Producers present in Germany, a comparative tasting of the Colheita Vintages 1937 and 1995 and many Master Classes in Douro DOC and Port. Axel teaches at the major Wine-Universities Geisenheim and Heilbronn in Germany and writes articles for WeinWisser, Weinwirtschaft and Vinum, some of the few remaining real wine-journals in the German language as well as for the World of Fine wines in the UK. He is the organiser and lecturer of the Port- and Douro Seminars held Pro-Wein in Germany, one of the most important wine-fairs of the world. Axel just published a solid book on Port for the German market, which just won the Gourmand Awards “Best European Wine Book in 2018. He is a Cavalero do Confraria do Vinho do Porto and a certified Sherry Educator from the Consejo Regulador in Jerez. In September 2013 Axel convinced the 25 major Port Shippers to unify in a Project to produce a unique Vintage Port that has never been produced before, which 100.000-Euro-profit was donated to charity (www.o-port-unidade.com). Axel Probst is married with two children. ”

2y 10m ago

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