Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2014 Front Label
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2014 Front LabelQuinta do Noval Vintage Port 2014 Front Bottle Shot

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2014

Port from Portugal
  • WE96
  • JS96
  • WS91
  • RP91
750ML / 19.5% ABV
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750ML / 19.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Intensely powerful and concentrated, this port is perfectly adapted to age in bottle, and has the capacity to mature gracefully over decades.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WE 96
Wine Enthusiast
This beautifully perfumed wine has all the tannins that will allow it to age over many decades. It also offers the rich blackberry, dark plum and great structure that will support that aging. As so often, Noval has released a vintage when other major producers have held back. But this powerful wine fully justifies the decision. Drink from 2025 for the fruit, 2030 for the complexity.
JS 96
James Suckling
This is a really fantastic young vintage Port showing terrific clarity and power. Full body and a tight center palate of blueberry and plum character. So long and persistent in the mouth. Goes on for minutes. Try in 2023 and beyond. Not a generally declared year for Port, but this is a stunner.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
A solid, textbook version, this has flesh and weight, with vivid blueberry, plum and blackberry compote flavors carried by lightly brambly grip through the licorice-fueled finish. Best from 2020 through 2035.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2014 Vintage Port is a typical Douro field blend (bottled in September, 2016) with 101 grams per liter of residual sugar and 19.5% alcohol. This is filled with charm. I will say that it showed better in Porto as a barrel sample over the summer than it does now--it has closed up a bit after bottling. I'm going with my initial impression, because it should come back. Wonderfully aromatic and laced with herbs and spice, it is easy to see why it will be attractive. Its limitations are easy to see, too. It is probably a bit too compact for greatness, not really showing a lot of depth--even at age 15, the 2001 Nacional reviewed last issue surpassed it easily--and the structure is just average compared to some old-school examples from Noval. This still has many moments, though. If it is a bit light, it is fresh and lively, with just enough structure to carry on. It will certainly develop more complexity with age. At the moment, it is shockingly approachable, except for lacking truly expressive fruit. That should come in time--it was much tastier in Porto. About an hour in the glass, after use of an aerator, brought it around pretty well.

If you have read my table wine article this year, you will see many comments on the very difficult 2014 vintage. You might wonder why Noval declared a Vintage Port in this rather miserable year for most of Portugal and most of Douro--continuing Noval's very admirable effort to push the declaration envelope (having recently declared 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2014 in a row). Good for them, is all I can say. Christian Seely said, "We might have avoided controversy by not declaring this Vintage of 2014, but I found the wine absolutely irresistible and had no hesitation at all in declaring this very small quantity (1,000 cases)..." Well, even if it is not the greatest Noval, so what? We sometimes pay for famous table wines in modest vintages that cost more and won't age nearly as well. Why should Port be any different? This holds its own pretty decently.

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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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Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, due to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. A long and narrow but small country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.

While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white wines of various styles.

The Douro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.

Other dry wines include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine, made in the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the southern, Alentejo.

The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.

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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.

PBC9250482_2014 Item# 200260

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