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This is a blend of 30% Touriga Nacional, 20% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz, 20% Tinta Barroca and a 10% field blend. The winery described this year as follows: "In 1997, winter began very cold and the snow covered the whole Quinta during some days, which hadn't happened for more than three decades. In February and March temperatures were very hot, getting to reach 29 degrees and it didn't rain, causing a 15 days blooming advance inferior to the average. Blooming elapsed a month earlier than in 96, with above 20 degrees temperatures and almost without any rain, providing excellent conditions for a good maturation. The rain compensated the lack of water in the soul in April and May and by temperatures below the average that reached normal values in the end of June. Ripeness was excellent in August and September, with very hot days and night breeze." It seems to me on looking over my notes that 1997s as a group have seemed remarkably elegant. So, too, here. Quite possibly the most graceful and restrained of this group of Novals, it is lovely and charming, easy to like, sweet, refined and a little subtle--relatively speaking. It is an ingratiating wine that does a lot without being overly obvious about it."
90 Points Mark Squires, Wine Advocate
THE WINE OF A SINGLE HARVEST THAT HAS MATURED ITS WHOLE LIFE IN CASKS
The old Tawny Port for the lover of old Tawny Ports. Whereas our great 10, 20 and 40 year-old tawnies are blends, designed to maintain a consistent house style, a Colheita takes its personality from the year in which it was made. Each Colheita is distinctive yet at the same time strongly marked by the Quinta do Noval terroir. These are very rare Ports and some of the greatest of all Douro wines, produced in tiny quantities and undeservedly unrecognised.
Quinta do Noval is one of the few Houses of Port renowned for both its Vintage and Colheita Ports.
In 1997 the winter started cold and snow covered the entire Quinta for a few days. February and March were very hot and dry, reaching 29ºC and thus causing an advance of 15 days in which budbreak was less than average. Flowering was one month earlier than in 1996, with temperatures always above 20 degrees and virtually no rain, perfect conditions for a good fruit set. The lack of water in the soil was compensated by the rains in April, May and by mild early summer temperatures reaching normal levels by the end of June.
Maturation took place in August and September in perfect conditions with very hot days and cool nights, the latter a particular feature of this year, resulting in wonderful freshness and balance in the wines.
On September 22, grapes were in great condition. The winery decided to start the harvest at the lower parcels of the Quinta and the grapes arrived at the Lagares with 14 Be, perfect sugar content. After the “Corte” the aroma and colour quickly showed them that they were in the presence of a Vintage year. The harvest continued under ideal conditions and they were able to take their time, picking the grapes “a la carte” until 9 October.
The Colheita 1997 has a complex nose combining nuttiness with fresh fruit still present. Rich and succulent, it has a silky texture with exotic flavors on the palate and a lingering finish.