This superb Port is a true single Quinta, with all the fruit coming from this single estate. The vineyard covers 145 hectares and made up with a great range of altitudes, expositions and soils. The results are beautifully complex. The wild garrigue-like herbs are tell-tale Noval. Lovely fruit line - mineral, with crushed rocks and pure dark berries that form a tight core for now. Not impenetrable but with immense pure concentration and neat, clean but firm tannins that build discreetly and finely. Those dried herbs and the enticing, dark density of pert fruit are quite a thrill. It is very easy to see why Managing Director, Christian Seely, told us he ‘had no hesitation in declaring 2017 - one of the best ever.’ L&S (May 2019)
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The 2017 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port was picked from August 21 to September 28 under perfect conditions. It has a tightly wound bouquet that requires a lot of aeration. Eventually it reveals fabulous, detailed aromas of cassis, bilberry jam, crushed stone and pressed violets, later hints of orange blossom and quince. The palate is pure class. Saturated tannins, wonderful structure but the headline is the intensity of fruit. I cannot remember a Noval with this penetration, almost overwhelming the senses as layers of effervescent black plum and cassis fruit segue into a spicy finish that fans out like there is no tomorrow. Is this the best Quinta do Noval ever? Drinking range: 2030 - 2080 Rating: 97 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Jun 2019)
Black core with narrow purple rim. Beautifully scented with bergamot, very ripe black fruit and wild herbs. A savoury character, almost an umami note, adding complexity to the rich, spicy black fruit. Firm, dense, compact and all furled up on itself, with depth and richness but no excess weight. The impressive integration of the flavours means it is hard to describe the components separately. Fills the mouth and finishes long and chewy, with just enough freshness to balance. Drinking range: 2027 - 2057 Rating: 17.5 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com (Jun 2019)
Big grip in this wine with dark blackberries, blueberries and floral notes. Fine tannins. Ripe but sweet and pretty. Shows a lovely finish. Try after 2027. Rating: 97 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (May 2019)
Quinta do Noval
After a sometimes decadent history, and the ravages of phylloxera, Quinta do Noval was bought by Port shipper António José da Silva in 1894, and his family owned and developed Noval for nearly the next 100 years. In the 1920's they introduced that ubiquitous piece of Port marketing - the stencilled bottle - and, with the 1954 vintage, the far more useful concept of Late Bottled Vintage Port. In 1925, they planted the iconic and, astoundingly, ungrafted Nacional vineyard, the 1931 of which is regarded as one of finest Ports ever produced. The mantle of running this great estate was passed, in 1993, to AXA Millésimes who own, among others, Châteaux Pichon Longueville and Suduiraut, and Christian Seely was put in charge of the renaissance of this great vineyard.
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