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Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2004
The wine was made entirely from grapes of QUINTA do NOVAL –Vale de Mendiz – Pinhão - in the heart of the Douro valley.
This wine is produced exclusively from selected plots on the Quinta and trodden by foot in our lagares and is only declared when various factors combine to make an exceptional year. Intensely powerful and concentrated, this wine is adapted to age in bottle, developing over years, releasing a complex variety of flavors.
The 2004 Vintage Port "Nacional" is a declared Vintage Port aged for 18 months in wooden casks. An old vines field blend, it comes in at just 79 grams per liter of residual sugar, rather dry on paper and in perception. Typically graceful and leaning on elegance in the mid-palate, it is laced with some herbs and rhubarb up front. It is very aromatic and it opens with a distinctive flavor profile compared to others in the Vintage Port lineup that I had open. In the mid-palate, it seems like a very fine table wine in some ways, showing remarkable finesse and focus, and a rather dry finish. It is completely closed and gives little. The structure and the underlying concentration are all obvious, though. They are classic and they make this a cellar candidate from the get-go. Despite being over a decade old, this is tight, firm, powerful and too young. After playing around with it for several days, I saw it finally begin to blossom, to show fresh fruit and something besides austerity. By the end of the week, it was far more evolved, showing its wonderful concentration, increasingly interesting intensity of flavor and a long finish. It is never obvious, but it is always quite gorgeous. This is an old school Port on an old school schedule. It needs cellaring. If extended aeration makes it at least a bit approachable, it is not exactly showing all it has and all it can be. Be patient--even if it is more approachable in a decade or so, that won't be even close to its peak. If you're patient and young, give it a try around 2040.
With its inky dark color, this is darkly dense, a huge mouthful of black fruits and dark, initially medicinal flavors and firm, concentrated tannins. It will age 20 years at least, but its sweet, ripe fruit suggest it could be drunk much earlier than that.
Has lots of grapey, stemmy, rich aromas. Full-bodied, lightly sweet and chewy, with plenty of grip. Layered and rich. Serious and structured. All there for the vintage. Best after 2017.
This blend is extreme in its structural tension, a vast amount of blackberry and datelike fruit pulled in the direction of searingly dry, mineral tannin. The alcohol increases that impression of austerity. Bottle age should relieve some of the tension; for best enjoyment beyond 15 years from the vintage.
Noval was the first to introduce stencilled bottles in the 1920s.
Noval pioneered the concept of Old Tawnies with an indication of age.
In 1958, Noval was the first to introduce a late-bottled vintage (LBV).
Stretching from the Andes to Patagonia, Argentina's unique terroir lends to high quality wines. Formerly associated with inexpensive bulk wine but dramatically shifting focus from quantity to quality, Argentina is the most important wine-producing country in South America. Certainly excellent values abound here still, but increases in vineyard investment, improved winery technology, and a commitment to innovation since the late 20th century have contributed to the country’s burgeoning image as a producer of great wines at all price points. The climate here is diverse but generally continental and agreeable, with hot, dry summers and cold snowy winters—a positive, as snow melt from the Andes Mountains can be used to irrigate vineyards. Grapes very rarely have any difficulty achieving full ripeness.
Mendoza, a large and famous region responsible for more than 70% of Argentina’s wine production, is further divided into several sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. Red wines dominate here, especially Malbec, the country’s star variety, while Chardonnay is the most successful white. The province of San Juan is best known for blends of Bonarda and Syrah. Torrontés is a specialty of the La Rioja and Salta regions, the latter of which is also responsible for excellent Malbecs grown at very high elevation.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes referred to as the “king” of red grapes. It can be somewhat unapproachable early in its youth but has the potential to age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more at its best. Small berries and tough skins provide its trademark firm tannic grip, while high acidity helps to keep the wine fresh for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region (and in St-Emillion and Pomerol, where it plays a supporting role to Merlot). The top Médoc producers use Cabernet Sauvignon for their wine’s backbone, blending it with Merlot and smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot. On its own, Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.
In the Glass
High in color, tannin, and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice, and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it's typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb, and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.
Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.