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"The 2016 Quinta do Noval Naçional Vintage Port comes (of course) from the famous parcel of ungrafted vines. Comparing it side by side, the Naçional does not have the immediacy of the regular Noval. It is darker, more introspective, more complex and beguiling, the black fruit complemented by subtle desiccated orange and marmalade aromas. What strikes first on the palate is the fineness of the tannins. This is utterly harmonious, silky in terms of texture, and extraordinarily cohesive. You don’t know whether to drink this or stroke it. It is an understated Naçional that almost deceives you into thinking that there is not power, but that crashes across the senses in the final third and on the aftertaste. It is a Naçional with a latent effect, its virtues becoming apparent not during but after imbibing. It is a quite profound Port, even though at this juncture you are just reading the first couple of pages of a very long and engrossing novel."
98+ Points Vinous Media
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
It was a year of extremes: a warm winter with a high rainfall, at 618 mm twice as much as in an average year. After a wet spring, summer was very hot and dry, with some peaks of heat in August and September. By the end of August, the harvest looked extremely good, in excellent sanitary conditions, but ripening began to slow down due to the very hot and dry conditions. Fortunately 17mm of much needed rain fell on 13th September, and maturation continued in ideal conditions from this point onwards. The main part of the harvest began on 19th September in dry and sunny weather, and the fruit continued to ripen throughout the harvest period. In spite of the unusual and extreme climatic conditions of the year, the end result is of outstanding quality. The wines are balanced and fresh, with excellent structure, very intense bright fruit and aromatically very expressive.
The 2016 harvest in the Douro brought perfectly-timed rain that turned a good year into a great one. Fortunately, despite a challenging growing season and a much adjusted and delayed picking schedule, those producers with excellent vineyard knowledge and confident decision-making, were rewarded with spectacular Vintage Ports.