Quinta do Noval

“Such Polish and Beauty”: The Striking 2021 Vintage Ports, Plus Limited Stocks of Tawny and Colheita
Quinta do Noval
From a Port grower that prides itself on the finesse, purity and balance of its wines, 2021 has delivered these qualities in spades. This is an outstanding vintage where temperatures were consistent compared to recent extreme years, and ample water enabled Noval to wait for optimum ripeness in each plot. The wines have intensity but remain at an elegant remove from the opulent, sensual releases of recent harvests. Characterised by their floral-led perfumes, freshness and purity of fruit, another feature of the year is approachability; both the Noval wines should be ready and waiting within 10 years, and the Passadouro a few years earlier.

Made from just four per cent of Noval’s vineyard and wearing its power lightly, the 2021 VP is highly aromatic with beautiful scents of bramble and plum and a generous, complex palate shaped by sweet, fresh tannins. We haven’t tasted the Nacional this year, but we are assured that this release is more than worthy of this great label! “Magnificent” was the resounding verdict of Richard Mayson, the Wines of Portugal author and pre-eminent authority on Port. This vintage also marks the first Quinta do Passadouro for which Noval has managed the entire growing season and winemaking from start to finish.

To top off this special offering, we are pleased to include a small selection of this estate’s excellent Tawny and Colheita Ports. Notable for their complexity of flavour, lacy textures and surprising freshness, Noval’s Tawny Ports already enjoy a terrific reputation in Australia. The estate’s benchmark Colheitas—vintage-dated Tawny Ports—are only produced in certain years and are aged for twice as long as required. These are stunning wines: complex, intricately detailed and offering sublime drinking pleasure. We currently have the 1997 and 1995 in limited quantities, and each bottle comes in a gift box—begging to put a smile on someone’s face this festive season.

In all, it is a great release from this benchmark grower; small but perfectly formed.

The Wines

Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port 2021
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Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port 2021

The most revered and collectible Port in the world, Quinta do Noval Nacional is a Vintage Port produced from a single 2.5-hectare parcel of ungrafted vines in the Quinta do Noval estate, right next to the cellars. This patch of vines consistently produces a sublime and unique wine which is widely considered to be the pinnacle of Vintage Port and, indeed, one of the world’s great wines. It is also almost certainly the rarest of the world's great wines as so little is released—and even then, only in the appropriate years.

The Nacional plot is not named after the grape Touriga Nacional (as is commonly assumed). In fact, the site is planted with a range of the best Port varieties, including Touriga Nacional (which only accounts for roughly 30%), Touriga Francesa, Tinto Cão (about 20%, 60-year-old vines), Tinta Roriz and some Sousão. The average age of the vines is around 50 years. The wine is called Nacional (i.e. national) because it is produced exclusively from ungrafted vines (i.e. vines on their original rootstocks and therefore directly in touch with the soil of the nation). The yields of these vines are minuscule (around 15 hl/ha), and the tight bunches of small, deeply coloured grapes produce a massively profound yet sublimely refined Port. The La Romanée-Conti of Ports if you like.

“There’s such a purity of fruit here of sliced ripe cherries and crushed blackberries with blueberries, as well as fresh flowers. Medium- to full-bodied with ultra fine tannins that run the length of the wine. Really polished and silky. Medium sweet with pretty grip and presence. Reminds me of the perfect 2011 but with a little less concentration. Drink after 2030.”
97 points, James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
“From a legendary plot of ungrafted vines, rooted in the soil of the nation, hence ‘Nacional’, foot trodden in lagar and aged for 18 months in oak and chestnut wood vats, with a capacity of 2500 litres: very deep and opaque with almost inky intensity of colour; still quite introverted and sullen with underlying stony depth and kirsch-like intensity on the nose; immediately fills the mouth with beautifully defined, ripe cherry and plum fruit, bold structural gritty tannins which persist on a long vibrant and overwhelmingly fresh finish that goes on and on. Magnificent.”
18.5 points, Richard Mayson, richardmayson.com
“Richly layered and nicely rendered, this offers a mouthwatering ganache note that coats a core of blackberry and plum compote flavors while still keeping a sense of underlying energy. There's a prominent backdrop of warm earth, licorice root and roasted alder notes as well, giving this a fairly dry cut through the very structured finish. Impressive for the vintage. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Cão, Sousão and Tinta Roriz. Best from 2040 through 2060. 150 cases made, 10 cases imported.”
96 points, James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port 2021
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Quinta do Noval Passadouro Vintage Port 2021
Quinta do Noval Passadouro Vintage Port 2021
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Quinta do Noval Passadouro Vintage Port 2021

In 2019, Quinta do Noval acquired a second estate in Portugal’s Douro Valley: Quinta do Passadouro. Quinta do Passadouro dates to the 18th century and has long been highly regarded for both its Port and table wines. The property is in the Cima Corgo sub-region, close to the village of Vale de Mendiz in the heart of the demarcated Douro region. Since 1991, the estate has been well run by the Bohrmann family (who also own a domaine in Meursault).

Passadouro is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinto Cão, Sousão and Tinta Roriz picked between 26th August and 8th October. The quinta’s vines range from 100 to 300 metres above sea level, requiring such a prolonged, multi-tiered harvest. Made in roughly the same fashion as Noval’s own Vintage Port, the style here—while also one of class and sophistication—is more medium-bodied, youthfully buoyant and immedicably approachable than the Noval.

In 2021, only 6.5% of Passadouro’s production was used to craft this wine. It was bottled in May 2023 with 88 g/L residual sugar. It’s a harmonious and appealing vintage with notes of violet, plum and hints of dark chocolate, lovely intensity without any heaviness and a surprisingly delicate and fresh finish. It’s the most accomplished Passadouro we have shipped—perhaps unsurprising as this is the first vintage fully controlled by the Noval team.

“Loads of crushed blackberries with black cherries, wild flowers and wet bark. Forest flower fruits. Medium-bodied, medium sweet with polished and very fine tannins that run the length of the wine. Racy finish. Best after 2029 and beyond.”
94 points, James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
“Loads of crushed blackberries with black cherries, wild flowers and wet bark. Forest flower fruits. Medium-bodied, medium sweet with polished and very fine tannins that run the length of the wine. Racy finish. Best after 2029 and beyond.”
94 points, James Suckling
Quinta do Noval Passadouro Vintage Port 2021
Quinta do Noval Passadouro Vintage Port 2021
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Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2021
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Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2021

Noval’s Vintage Port is a single-quinta wine, the grapes passing a strict selection program from Noval’s vineyards on the slopes of Douro’s Cavadinha tributary. The 2021 vintage marks the 11th Port declaration in a row for Quinta do Noval, and this year’s wine represents only 4% of the estate’s entire production. Each year, the blending proportions for the Vintage Port will vary depending on the varieties which performed best. The 2021 is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cão, Sousão, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Francesa—all foot-trodden in temperature-controlled granite lagares.

The wine matured for 18 months in old wooden barrels and was bottled in May 2023 with 97 g/L residual sugar. From the purity of its floral-led aromas and layered berry-fruited palate, this is Noval in its most elegant form. As always, it’s a wine of striking purity and intensity, yet it wears its power lightly, and the long, gently spiced finish is pure class. A delicious counterpoint to the opulent wines of recent years, it will work well in restaurants from a reasonably young age.

“Intense aromas of black fruits with blueberries, lead pencil and graphite. Wet earth as well. Full-bodied and layered with very fine tannins and a juicy and savory finish. There is such polish and beauty to this. Reminds me of the 1967. Best after 2030.”
95 points, James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
“Made from Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinto Cão, Sousão and Tinta Roriz, trodden by foot in granite lagares: very deep, opaque crimson; open and scented on the nose with a slight green undertone, multi-layered showing considerable depth; lovely sappy-minty ripeness on the palate with broad, firm, fine-grained tannins mid-palate which persist on the finish. Not a big wine but balanced and showing considerable finesse.”
18 points, 18/20, Richard Mayson, richardmayson.com
“This solidly built version displays a graphite edge running from start to finish, giving a structured feel as notes of dark plum, blackberry and black currant reduction move through slowly, building tension and power along the way. Baker's chocolate, espresso crema, licorice root and alder notes all infuse on the finish, lending a level of scale and length that sets this apart from the pack in this vintage. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Cão, Sousão and Tinta Roriz. Best from 2040 through 2060. 1,500 cases made, 180 cases imported.”
95 points, James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2021
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Quinta do Noval Tawny 10yo
Quinta do Noval Tawny 10yo
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Quinta do Noval Tawny 10yo

This is the youngest of the Noval Tawnies with an age indication. It’s made from 50% estate fruit with the balance from A-grade producers in the heart of the Douro Valley. Alongside Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa and Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional and Sousão now enter the story. The grapes are foot-trodden and fermented in the traditional lagares of the Quinta. After fortification, the wine is moved to old oak barrels of 640 litres for aging. 

Wines selected to become part of Noval’s chain of aged Tawnies are chosen from only the finest remaining Ports after the selection of the Vintage Port has been made. The finished wine is a blend across vintages with an average age of 10 years. It displays complex, lifted aromas of Christmas cake and toffee, with Noval’s elegantly structured palate and a long, dry finish. A superb example.

“A fresh, vibrant style, showing cherry and redcurrant pâte de fruit notes, with blood orange and rooibos tea flavors. Light cinnamon and mineral nuances add to the streamlined finish.”
92 points, James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
"Quinta Do Noval's NV 10 Year Tawny offers up a semi-opaque ruby hue as well as a tons of cigar wrapper, chocolate, espresso, and candied black olive aromas, just to name a few. It's complex, medium to full-bodied, and rounded on the palate, with plenty of fruit as well as complexity. Aged in oak in a solera system for multiple years, this is in a sweet spot for me, with a solid mix of sweet fruit and some complex, spicy, tertiary nuances."
92 points, Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com
“Medium in body- -well, it's a 10, not a 40- -this has fine freshness and perfect balance. The juicy, delicious finish is irresistible and has more intensity of flavor than most 10 Year Olds. Although I tend to look first for freshness in this category, it is also nice to find some complexity and intensity of flavor, too, as here. This is nicely done.”
91 points, Mark Squires, The Wine Advocate
Quinta do Noval Tawny 10yo
Quinta do Noval Tawny 10yo
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Quinta do Noval Tawny 20yo
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Quinta do Noval Tawny 20yo

Unlike Noval’s 10-year-old Tawny, this wine is made entirely from fruit cropped from the Quinta do Noval estate, so this is a step up in quality as well as age. In Port and the Douro, Richard Mayson has referred to this category as, “the epitome of balance combining freshness and delicacy with the secondary toasted almond and walnut complexity from ageing in wood.” Noval’s contribution to the 20-year-old field is pure premier league. Sublimely elegant and refined, there’s so much intricacy and toffee-scented depth. It’s a perfect example of how delicious and complex a 20-year-old Tawny Port can be. 




“A shade or two darker and richer than its peers, with warm toffee, hazelnut cream, roasted vanilla, cinnamon and walnut husk notes leading the way, backed by halva, pistachio oil and dried fig details. Lush through the finish, with the walnut hint lingering long enough for all the elements to fall in line. An exotic tawny.”
95 points, James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
“Deliciously nutty yet fruity with burnt umber notes and some dried orange peel. The perfect age for a tawny port`. Still vigorous and no excess evaporation or rancio. Big and bold but with great balance.”
17/20, Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com
Quinta do Noval Tawny 20yo
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Quinta do Noval Tawny 40yo
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Quinta do Noval Tawny 40yo

Noval’s 40-year-old is made in tiny quantities and shows the heights this style of wine can reach with careful, extended oak aging. Noval’s aged Tawnies are bottled to order, which guarantees their freshness—even at this age the wine is zesty and full of life. Precise and focused on the palate, and with exceptional length, this is a true masterpiece to compare with the greatest wines of the region. 

“Terrific stature and visceral intensity. Tightly wound acidity, a touch of volatile acidity and Cognac-like spirit drive to the kaleidoscopic palate, unleashing a never-ending panoply of flavours: black cardamom, spicy fruit chutney, salty praline, mocha, dried mango, marmalade and walnut. Ultra-long, well-focused and resonating.”
97 points, Decanter Magazine
“This is very flattering up front, with a lush wave of warm date, fig and toffee leading the way, backed by subtle bitter almond and Brazil nut notes that add spine and contrast. A flash of green tea pierces the finish, adding a dry hint in turn and bringing you back for more. A wine with power that is also invigorating to drink.”
96 points, James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
Quinta do Noval Tawny 40yo
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Quinta do Noval Tawny Port Colheita 2007
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Quinta do Noval Tawny Port Colheita 2007

The Portuguese word colheita means ‘harvest’. A Colheita Port must be from a single year and aged for a minimum of seven years in wood before bottling. In practice many are aged for considerably longer (as is the case at Noval) and so Colheita Ports can vary greatly in style.

Noval’s Colheita is only made in exceptional years, when certain lots of wine with great aging potential are set aside to be aged in cascos (old casks with a capacity of 640 litres). When Noval feels the wine is ready—usually after about 15 years—a portion is bottled for release. The rest of the stocks of will continue to age in barrel for bottlings in the future.

The 2007 purrs with class. Already drinking beautifully, it will pair with chocolate ganache, walnut and date tart, chocolate/orange desserts and spiced fruit flan.

 


 



The 2007 purrs with class. Already drinking beautifully, it will pair with chocolate ganache, walnut and date tart, chocolate/orange desserts and spiced fruit flan.

“Deep tawny colour, still with a reasonable amount of red to it. Fabulous aroma of dried fruits, especially prunes in spirit (pruneaux d'Agen), walnuts, bitter-orange marmalade. I am not sure I would have picked out liquorice but it is clear once it has been pointed out to me, particularly noticeable on the palate… Rich, intense and mouth-filling, with great concentration and length. There's power but also lovely harmony between the sweetness and the freshness with lots of fruit at the core despite all the wood-aged developed flavours. In fact there is something woody here (as opposed to oaky). There's still some tannin here but it's smooth and compact rather than chewy, adding density to the energy. Immense persistence.”
18/20 points, Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com
“Ruby at the core with a broad tawny rim, Noval's 2007 Colheita is a single vintage Port of very high quality that was aged for 13 years in wooden barrels at the Noval cellar. That means it is a wine with wonderful maturity and instant drinkability, unlike Vintage Ports which often require decades after release to show their best. There are deep, soulful aromas of walnut and old polished wood, a twist of Seville orange and delightful hint of shellac in the mix. In the mouth terrific balance of sweetness and cherry-ripe fruit, with those aged notes, a liquorice intensity and concentration and such a creamy texture, flowing seamlessly into a sweet, beguiling finish with outstanding length.”
Tom Cannavan, wine-pages.com
Quinta do Noval Tawny Port Colheita 2007
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Quinta do Noval Tawny Port Colheita 1997
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Quinta do Noval Tawny Port Colheita 1997

The Portuguese word colheita means ‘harvest’. A Colheita Port must be from a single year and aged for a minimum of seven years in wood before bottling. In practice many are aged for considerably longer (as is the case at Noval) and so Colheita Ports can vary greatly in style.

Noval’s Colheita is only made in exceptional years, when certain lots of wine with great aging potential are set aside to be aged in cascos (old casks with a capacity of 640 litres). When Noval feels the wine is ready—usually after about 15 years—a portion is bottled for release. The rest of the stocks of will continue to age in barrel for bottlings in the future.

The 1997 presents as lithe and muscular, with laser-focused drive and pinpoint acidity, matched to a svelte palate branded with beautiful flavours of spice, and a walnut and coffee cake finish that lasts an age.

 





The 1997 presents as lithe and muscular, with laser-focused drive and pinpoint acidity, matched to a svelte palate branded with beautiful flavours of spice, and a walnut and coffee cake finish that lasts an age.

“Looks like a very mature red Rhône. Smells not unlike a mature Châteauneuf from a very ripe vintage! Seems less alcoholic and less sweet than many in this fortified wine tasting. Nice balance. Quite delicate. Would go well with cheese but perhaps not sweet enough for most desserts – though there is a Christmas pudding element to its very attractive flavour.”
18/20 points, Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com
“If you’re a fan of vintage dated Tawnies (aka Colheita Ports), they don’t come much better than this. It’s endearingly, palate-stimulatingly spicy, with real intensity and focus, an impression of heat and figgy intensity, a faint undertone of spirit and a finish that lingers on the palate for minutes. The wine is drier than many examples, with the structure that is the hallmark of Noval’s wood-aged Ports.”
96 points, Tim Atkin MW, Timatkin.com
Quinta do Noval Tawny Port Colheita 1997
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Quinta do Noval Tawny Port Colheita 1995
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Quinta do Noval Tawny Port Colheita 1995

The Portuguese word colheita means ‘harvest’. A Colheita Port must be from a single year and aged for a minimum of seven years in wood before bottling. In practice, many are aged for considerably longer (as is the case at Noval), and so Colheita Ports can vary greatly in style.

Noval’s Colheita is only made in exceptional years, when certain lots of wine with great aging potential are set aside to be aged in cascos (old casks with a capacity of 640 litres). When Noval feels the wine is ready—usually after about 15 years—a portion is bottled for release. The rest of the stocks will continue to age in barrel for bottlings in the future.

In a very sweet spot, the beautifully refined 1995 exhibits umami (mushroom broth) and tilled earth notes, well integrated into a bright fruit and floral-noted palate underscored by tight and classically structured framework. With a vibrancy that defies its years, this beauty still has a long way to go (if desired).


In a very sweet spot, the beautifully refined 1995 exhibits umami (mushroom broth) and tilled earth notes, well integrated into a bright fruit and floral-noted palate underscored by tight and classically structured framework. With a vibrancy that defy its years, this beauty still has a long way to go (if desired).

“Wonderfully complex with elegant bright red fruits and lovely lively spiciness. Lively and fresh with real complexity, this is expressive and precise.”
95 points, Jamie Goode, Wineanorak.com
Quinta do Noval Tawny Port Colheita 1995
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“Noval has been on fire lately and reasserted its position as one of the Douro’s finest Port Houses, setting its own agenda regarding Declarations.” Neal Martin, Vinous



"Nacional is the Everest, to be sure, but Noval offers a Himalaya's worth of quality in other Ports as well.”
Kim Marcus, Wine Spectator



“What an Estate.”
Jancis Robinson MW

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