For us, it is at the heart of everything
‘Quinta do Noval is the only one, among the principal Port houses, where the name of the winery is the vineyard. The rest are named for their founders. The vineyard is at the heart of all that we do. For us, it is at the heart of everything,’Christian Seely, Managing Director affirmed as he spoke to our group of wine lovers from Hong Kong and Singapore.
Of the 143 hectares of vineyard, two have never been affected by phylloxera. Why that is so, no one really knows. Christian Seely may not be a technical person but he has tried to unravel the mystery by replanting cuttings from the plot to other parts of the remaining 141 hectares of vines. It hasn‘t work though. Like a poet who knows better than to challenge the divine. You would too when you taste this exception of exceptions. It is no accident that the name of this single 2 ha parcel reflects all that is dearest and most precious to vinous Portugal. NACIONAL.
The following wines were tasted at Quinta do Noval on Monday 29 October 2018 in their tasting room
Quinta do Noval Late-Bottled Vintage 2012
Incredibly intense –and fine –for a LBV. Fruity, including blackcurrants, and a hint of figs. Medium-plus bodied.
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2013
Not as aromatic nor as charming as the next 2015 vintage. Ten days into the 2013 harvest, it had rained. Blue fruit, a hint of eucalypt, and while fruity, a touch green. Fresh. Medium-plus-ish.
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2015
Violets, blueberries, cassis, eucalypt, menthol, and a hint of seaweed, even miso. More intense and longer than 2013. Most houses did not declare a 2015 Vintage Port. Luckily for wine lovers, Noval did.
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2016
This is a superb vintage. Elegance is its hallmark. Mint, floral, intense blueberries, cassis. Wonderfully balanced and refined. Ahead of 2015.
Quinta do Noval Nacional 2016
Floral, intense deep fruit that is still very tight, taut, and wound-up. The tannins are incredibly rich and dense. “The average production, when Nacional is declared, is 200 to 250 cases. We only sell 150 cases and keep the rest here. Every Nacional Vintage can live to at least 80 years or more”, Christian Seely.
Quinta do Noval Colheita 2000
Colheita or vintage Tawny are versatile both as an aperitif and a digestif. Their versatility is such that, like Tawny Port, an open bottle will stay delicious weeks and months after the bottle has been opened. Dried Chinese prunes, cinnamon and spice. Delicious freshness bolstering all that fruit. Best enjoyed between cool and cold.
The following wines were served at dinner at Quinta do Noval after the above tasting.
Quinta do Noval Colheita 1968
The energy of this wine can be likened to a V12 engine. Like an arrow taking off faster than a rocket, you can‘t hold it back. Christian Seely admitted to a touch of volatile acidity in the wine, which only adds to the persistence of the fruit including dried Chinese prunes, dried citrus peel, and spice.
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 1966
At 53 years, this oldest of the trio of “Sixes”is still galloping. After all, 1966 is a Chinese zodiac Year of the Horse. Figs, raisins, and Christmas cake with lift and grace.
Quinta do Noval Nacional 1967
Nacional always stands apart from everything that has come before it. You can‘t even compare it to tasting a great Bordeaux vintage after having tasted a more modest vintage. Nacional is a totally different dimension. Tasting, drinking, experiencing Nacional is like someone sweeping everything else off the table. Everything stops for Nacional! Rich, concentrated, layered, and still incredibly youthful for its age. Deep, dark purple/black fruit including cassis, blackberries, cherries and mint. Persistent and very long. A monument of a wine.