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Quinta do Noval Vintage Port Nacional 2011

Port from Portugal
  • RP100
  • JS100
  • W&S100
  • WS98
750ML / 0% ABV
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  • WS99
  • RP97
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Winemaker Notes

Quinta do Noval Vintage Nacional 2011 has a very strong and distinctive personality. The tannins are powerful, reserved and fine. Very intense, long and concentrated fruits, explosive in the mouth, and balanced with great freshness. This port has a brooding presence.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
RP 100
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Vintage Port "Nacional" is a field blend aged for 18 months in wood before release. It comes in with 94.6 grams per liter of residual sugar and, if anything, tastes drier. This is a monumental Nacional that justifies its cult reputation. Still showing rather primary, young fruit, it is laced with herbs and a hint of resin. It is just plain delicious, even while showing some austerity. Fresh, clean and lively, its tension on the finish serves it in good stead, enlivening the wine along the way. The balance is perfect. Elegant but still very concentrated, more than the 2004 also reviewed, it expands in the glass as it airs out, coats the palate nicely and then becomes ever more intense. If the first tastes were all about the fruit, this wound up being about its backbone and firmness, what I typically expect. The tannins are not searing, in a sense--they are hard, not harsh--but make no mistake: it shuts down with a bang and does a fine job of seizing the tongue. It's built for the long haul, of course. Some five days later, it had not changed a lot, but the fruit was fighting back a little harder. After another five days, the fruit became pretty darned delicious. It will eventually win, but you need patience for this Port to come into balance--and show complexity, equally important. Even after ten days open, it still tightened on the finish and showed pure power. It's a beauty.
JS 100
James Suckling
This is an amazing young Port: deep and powerful, subtle and refined. Full body, lightly sweet with big chewy tannins that are polished and sexy. Amazingly well-crafted. Lasts for minutes on the finish. Fantastic. The legend lives. Could be better than the perfect 1994 and equal to the 1963. 220 cases produced of this foot-trodden wine from ungrafted vines. Try in 2024.
W&S 100
Wine & Spirits
The 2011 tastes like the entire Duoro compressed into one mouthful of wine. The tannins seek out every space in the mouth, yammering all the while about schist and sun beeries while the wine itself goes silent, or the brain's attempt to codify the scents of cassis, black cherries, figs and earth shuts down in the face of a perfect beauty, as if listening for the sound at the peak of a meteor shower in the night sky.
WS 98
Wine Spectator
Offers powerfully spicy aromas and flavors, with notes of dark chocolate, plum pudding and dark cherry, accented by a firm minerality. The endless finish of bittersweet chocolate and mincemeat shows loads of grip. Best from 2035 through 2055.
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Quinta do Noval

Quinta do Noval

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Quinta do Noval, Portugal
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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 Duoro 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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Blended from the most important red grapes of the Douro Valley, Port is the famous fortified wine from Portugal. It is based on the Touriga Nacional grape with over 80 other varieties approved for use in the blend. However, typically about four other varieties play a major role: Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and Touriga Francesa. Other wine regions of the world can produce fortified wine of a similar style from the same grapes or other grapes.

There are numerous styles of Port: Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, LBV, White, Colheita, and a few unusual others.

Ruby ports usually pack the most value and are ready to drink once bottled. Typical characteristics are ripe cherry and blackberry flavors with stewed plums, cocoa and dates.

Tawny ports are “tawny” in color and have flavors of toffee, caramel, toasted pecans, vanilla, dried apricot, citrus peel, green figs and roasted espresso. The age designation on a Tawny Port indicates the average vintage age of the grapes in the bottle. These are not intended to be aged once bottled.

When Port is made with high quality grapes selected from a single notable vintage, it is called Vintage Port. Some of the best recent vintages are 2016, 2011, 2007, 2003, 2000, 1997 and 1994. Vintage Ports are complex and full-bodied with many flavors possible: concentrated blackberry, black cherry, raspberry and spice, smoke, coffee and chocolate. Vintage ports tend to improve in the bottle up to approximately 30 years from the vintage.

LBV Port comes from a single-vintage Ruby Port and may spend six years in the barrel before being bottled. These are ready to drink upon release. Serve most Ports slightly chilled at around 55-65°F.

YNG590225_2011 Item# 125723