Other Dessert from Douro Valley, Portugal
Grape variety or varieties unknown
Opened 10 Dec 2017
Wine Advocate: 94
Wine Enthusiast: 90
Cellar Tracker: 90
Quinta do Noval is one of the oldest, and without argument, one of the greatest port houses in the Douro River Valley of northern Portugal. Their greatness is due, in part, to their willingness to experiment and innovate with their vineyards and products. They were the first, in 1958, to introduce late bottled vintage port with a 1954 vintage. Robert Parker included this winery in his 2005 book The World’s Greatest Wine Estates; speaking highly of its vineyards and wines:
Quinta do Noval is unusual among the great traditional Port houses in that it emphasizes the importance of the vineyard. …(The vineyards are) entirely based on the Douro Valley, and that its principal Vintage Ports, Quinta do Noval Nacional and Quinta do Noval, are both single-vineyard wines. The aim is to produce classic Vintage Ports that are harmonious and elegant expressions of Quinta do Noval’s terroir. Strict selection in the vineyard, low yields, and strict selection again in the tasting room …
Established in 1715, the vineyards, which the wines take their name, have only had 3 owners in 302 years. The current owner, AXA Millesimes, purchased the property in 1993. The ports all come from a single vineyard planted with 7 classified A grape varieties: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Francisca, Sousão. The exact grape(s) used in this port remains unstated.
The 350 acres of vineyards, 250 acres of which have been replanted since 1994, are 300-1500 feet above sea level, on the terraced hills, rooted in a medium grade metamorphic schistose rock with a little weathered clay thrown in to keep it all from cascading down into the river below. (Another great example of great wine grown from inhospitable and infertile soils.) The growing season days are mild with temperatures reaching into the mid-70s with night time lows bottoming out around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain is plentiful, averaging 3-6 inches per month.
The grapes are hand picked, crushed by foot and aged in single vintage, wooden vats for 4-5 years before being bottled; producing a deep purple to almost black hue with sweet aromas and flavors of nuts, toffee and vanilla. Enjoy alone or with chocolate.
An outstanding port. Decant to remove any sediment.