Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2013 Front Label
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2013 Front Label

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2013

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      Winemaker Notes

      Critical Acclaim

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      RP 95
      Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
      The 2013 Vintage Port is part of our mini-vertical this issue. Still tight, intense and showing plenty of power to go with its finesse, this evolves beautifully with air. The firmness on the finish here is impressive, giving this a chance to continue developing beautifully. It is not as expressive as the 2012—it is a bit more backward—but it is a more serious wine in many ways. I'm still a believer in this, although it certainly seems a step behind the biggest winners in the mini-vertical. This has some questions to answer in the cellar, but I think they will be answered to the satisfaction of most.
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      Quinta do Noval

      Quinta do Noval

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      Quinta do Noval, Portugal
      Quinta do Noval Quinta do Noval Winery Image

      One of the oldest port houses, Quinta do Noval is also arguably the greatest. It is unique among top port houses in that most of the ports are made from estate-grown fruit and, notably, all of the vintage Noval wines are from the single Quinta do Noval vineyard. In addition, it is difficult to elaborate on Quinta do Noval without mentioning Nacional, the legendary port made from a 6 acre parcel of ungrafted vines. When declared, only 200-300 cases of Nacional will be made, and instantly become the most sought after port in the world. Many vintages of Nacional are considered as the finest ports, and some of the finest wines, ever made.

      Noval is mentioned in land registries going back to 1715, and has been sold just twice in that time, once in the late 19th century, and to its present owners in 1993. Noval has, however, a reputation for being an innovative, independent producer. Noval’s focus on its vineyard and estate ports distinguishes it, but there are numerous other areas in which it has been a pioneer:

      • 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).

      The astonishing terraced vineyards of Noval, perched above the Douro and Pinhao rivers, are an infertile schist, and not soil as much as sheer rock. The elevation of the vineyards goes from just above river level to 1,200 feet, with density at about 2,000 vines per acre, and vines producing on average 30-35 hectoliters per hectare. The tremendous rewards of the work done at the estate over the last fifteen years are visible across the range of Noval ports, and have placed Noval a step ahead of everyone in the Douro.

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      The home of Port—perhaps the most internationally acclaimed beverage—the Douro region of Portugal is one of the world’s oldest delimited wine regions, established in 1756. The vineyards of the Douro, set on the slopes surrounding the Douro River (known as the Duero in Spain), are incredibly steep, necessitating the use of terracing and thus, manual vineyard management as well as harvesting. The Douro's best sites, rare outcroppings of Cambrian schist, are reserved for vineyards that yield high quality Port.

      While more than 100 indigenous varieties are approved for wine production in the Douro, there are five primary grapes that make up most Port and the region's excellent, though less known, red table wines. Touriga Nacional is the finest of these, prized for its deep color, tannins and floral aromatics. Tinta Roriz (Spain's Tempranillo) adds bright acidity and red fruit flavors. Touriga Franca shows great persistence of fruit and Tinta Barroca helps round out the blend with its supple texture. Tinta Cão, a fine but low-yielding variety, is now rarely planted but still highly valued for its ability to produce excellent, complex wines.

      White wines, generally crisp, mineral-driven blends of Arinto, Viosinho, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina and an assortment of other rare but local varieties, are produced in small quantities but worth noting.

      With hot summers and cool, wet winters, the Duoro has a maritime climate.

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      Port is a sweet, fortified wine with numerous styles: Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV), White, Colheita, and a few unusual others. It is blended from from the most important red grapes of the Douro Valley, based primarily on Touriga Nacional with over 80 other varieties approved for use. Most Ports are best served slightly chilled at around 55-65°F.

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