2016 Quinta do Noval Vintage Nacional Porto

Year: 2016
Appellation: Oporto
Country: Portugal
Wine Advocate: 97
Vinous Media: 98+
James Suckling: 100
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"The 2016 Vintage Port "Nacional" is a field blend, mostly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Sousão and Tinta Roriz, aged for 18 months in old wood. It comes in at 85 grams of residual sugar and was bottled April 13, 2018. This is plainly more intense than the regular Noval (not unusual), but that's not the most impressive feature. It is more impressive for the lifted fruit than the power. The fruit is carefully defined, precisely carved out of the mid-palate slab. The silky texture gives this a different demeanor than the regular Noval too, while the beautiful fruit has a different flavor profile. It is more red fruits than blue-it has far less Touriga Nacional, said winemaker Carlos Agrellos. It has more bright flavors like raspberries than plums. It adds that tannic pop and wonderful balance too. It is still oddly approachable-if you're a masochist, of course, and for the moment. It will be intriguing to see how this develops. It should close down pretty hard. Then, it will age gracefully for decades. Will it make people forget about that amazing nose on the regular Noval? Time will tell. No pricing was set in the USA as of this writing." (WA)

"The 2016 Quinta do Noval Naçional Vintage Port comes (of course) from the famous parcel of ungrafted vines. Comparing it side by side, the Naçional does not have the immediacy of the regular Noval. It is darker, more introspective, more complex and beguiling, the black fruit complemented by subtle desiccated orange and marmalade aromas. What strikes first on the palate is the fineness of the tannins. This is utterly harmonious, silky in terms of texture, and extraordinarily cohesive. You don’t know whether to drink this or stroke it. It is an understated Naçional that almost deceives you into thinking that there is not power, but that crashes across the senses in the final third and on the aftertaste. It is a Naçional with a latent effect, its virtues becoming apparent not during but after imbibing. It is a quite profound Port, even though at this juncture you are just reading the first couple of pages of a very long and engrossing novel." (VM)

"This is austere and tannic with reserve yet polish and finesse that is hard to come by. Blackberries, blueberries and hazelnuts and some fresh currants. Full-bodied, off-dry and extremely polished and focused. Only 175 cases made. Great length. Layers of tannic power. Perfect wine again. Try in 2025." (JS)

Winery Notes:
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 its ports are made from estate-grown fruit and, notably, all of the vintage Noval wines are from the single Quinta do Noval vineyard. And it is difficult to discuss Noval with mentioning Nacional, the legendary vintage port made from a 6 acre parcel of ungrafted vines, and the most collectible and sought after port in the world. In the early 1990s, Noval changed ownership for only the second time in its three-hundred year history and began a massive program of improvements while re-committing to the traditional, and best, methods of port production.

Noval’s vineyards were devastated by phylloxera in the 1880s and 1890s. The owner replanted over many years, and decided in 1925 to re-plant a tiny parcel of the vineyard with ungrafted vines. The Nacional name comes from this direct connection of the ungrafted vines to the soil of Portugal.