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Parker 99 points: Amazingly, the importer still has tiny stocks of such legendary ports as the 1970, 1963, and 1962 Nacionals. In most vintages the production of Quinta do Noval Nacional is no more than 250-275 cases. The 1970,1963,1962 and 1994 are candidates to achieve perfect scores. The 1963 Nacional's opaque purple color is remarkable, looking more like a 1992 than a 33-year old port. The wine possessed a fabulously smoky, cassis, black-cherry, peppery nose. After thirty minutes in the glass, fruitcake notes and more evolved aromas emerged. This port is so concentrated it defies belief, with extraordinary balance, and, like its two siblings, well-integrated alcohol and tannin. The impression is one of a silky, succulent, voluptuously-textured mouthful of exceptionally extracted port. This is a legend in the making. In 30-40 years it may well be considered, along with the 1931, as one of the greatest ports ever produced. Those lucky few with a bottle or two should plan to hold onto them for another decade before pulling the cork. It, too, is a hundred-year port.
QUINTA DO NOVAL NACIONAL
No other vintage port attracts more attention than Quinta do Noval’s Nacional and its collectability can be partly attributed to its tiny production. Only 200 - 300 cases are produced in a declared year. This represents a tiny percentage of Quinta do Noval’s production of vintage port (between 1,200 and 5,000 cases in each declared year). Nacional’s two and a half hectares of ungrafted vines are almost indistinguishable amongst the estate’s spectacular amphitheatre of immaculate, terraced vineyards, set high above the Pinhão Valley in the Cima Corgo region of the Douro.
“This wine is a mysterious phenomenon, a magical wine produced in extremely limited quantities and only in a few years each decade. It is the expression of a terroir and confirms something that is for me a deeply held belief. The Nacional is great because of the grapes and where they come from, not because of anything particular that we do. It has a unique personality, an extraordinary intensity and, even after many years of ageing, retains an astonishing youthfulness.” Christian Seely
The precise origin of Nacional remains unknown as most of the quinta’s records were destroyed in 1981 when a catastrophic fire swept through Noval’s headquarters in Vila Nova de Gaia. Most of Noval’s vineyards were severely damaged by phylloxera when it ravaged
the Douro region during the 1880’s and 1890’s.
Along with every other grower, António José da Silva (who bought the estate in 1894) began to replant his vineyards with American vines, grafting on vinifera types. It seems that da Silva selected a tiny parcel of the quinta’s vineyards and began extensive fumigation of the soil with a sulphur solution. The first Nacional vines were planted in 1925. The legendary quality of 1931 Nacional is even more
remarkable if one takes into account that many of the vines were between four and seven years old.
The estate of Quinta do Noval includes about 6,000 Nacional vines, with an average age of 30 years. Rows of Nacional alternate with rows of grafted vines in a section of the estatejust below the house, with an exceptional south west exposure. The vines are planted at a density of c. 2,000 vines per acre in traditional terraces with each vine having a space of approximately 3 x 4.5 feet. Like the rest of the estate, the soil of the Nacional plot is essentially infertile schist. It is high in potash with tiny amounts of nitrates, phosphates and organic matter. Although phylloxera is endemic, Nacional vines live just as long as grafted ones: 50 years or more. Their very existence remains a viticultural mystery and triumph. Most Nacional vines are widely acknowledged as some of the best grape varieties for Port:
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa and Tinto Cão, as well as Sousão.
What are the declared vintage years for Quinta do Noval Vintage Nacional ?
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
Declared by all the major Port houses, 1963 was a monumental vintage against which many others are now judged. Power, dimension and real character are all hallmarks of this most memorable vintage. And even after more than 45 years the best wines never fail to impress with their essential three components of fruit, tannin and elegance. 1963s almost always appear to be younger than they really are.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
|5 877€ +69.5%||3 467€ +23.8%||2 801€ +13.2%||2 475€ +13.3%||2 184€ +4.5%||2 090€ +10.6%||1 890€ +41.0%||1 340€ +69.6%||790€ +19.9%||659€|