How do you recognize Quinta do Noval wines ? What distinguishes them from other ports ?Through the wines of Quinta do Noval, we seek to produce the individual, harmonious and perfectly-balanced expression of the Quinta do Noval soil. Our wines, which share all the potency and complexity of the great wines of Porto and Douro, are distinctive for their finesse and delicacy.
What are the specific characteristics of Noval Old Tawnies ?A Noval Old Tawny is naturally distinctive for its delicacy, an essential quality of Quinta do Noval. But it will really stand out for its remarkable freshness linked to our meticulous care of the wines as they age over time in cask, and our style of blending. Our Old Tawnies have all the complexity, the concentration and typical aromas of these wines, which is gained through ageing in wooden casks. But they also retain the wine’s original freshness, present from the outset, the contact with the original grapes, which were crushed in the elaboration process. This freshness is a very important distinctive feature of Old Tawnies from Noval.
Where does the name « Nacional » come from?The wine is called “Nacional” because the ungrafted vines that produce this wine are “attached directly to the soil of the Nation”, i.e. with no foreign rootstock.
What are the origins of this plot of ungrafted vines?
The exact origins of Nacional are still unknown because most of the estate’s records were destroyed in 1981, when the Quinta do Noval head office in Vila Nova de Gaia was gutted by a fire. Most of the Quinta do Noval vineyard was severely affected by the outbreak of phylloxera that devastated the region of Douro in the 1880s and 1890s. Like all the other wine-growers, António José da Silva (who purchased the estate in 1894) began to replant his vineyard with traditional Douro varieties grafted onto American rootstock. We can conclude that da Silva decided not to replant the Nacional parcel with grafted vines, as it had been spared by phylloxera.
The small plot of Nacional is situated in a section of the vineyard lying just beneath the Quinta, which is set due north-east and enjoys ideal exposure. There are about 6,000 ungrafted vines in the parcel.
Surface area ?2 ha
As with the rest of the estate, the soil on the Nacional plot is composed basically of schist with a high potassium content and minimum quantities of nitrates, phosphates and organic matter. Despite the endemic nature of phylloxera in the region, the Nacional grapevine lives just as long as grafted vine, i.e. 50 years or more. Its very existence remains a mystery and triumph for viticulture.
Grape varieties ?
The Nacional parcel is planted with the classic noble varieties for Port: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão and Sousão.
What are the main visible differences between Nacional vinestock and a grafted vinestock ?At first glance, it is difficult to appreciate the difference. Nacional vinestock is slightly less sappy with a smaller body and branches and fewer leaves. The green of the leaves is not quite so bright. The grapes tend to be smaller than average with a high skin-to-juice ratio.
The yield from Nacional grapevine is lower than the other vines at Quinta do Noval. A vineyard like Quinta do Noval produces 30 to 35 hl/hectare. The Nacional plot produces only around 12 hl/hectare. Farming and harvesting are all done by hand.
Owing to its north-eastern exposure, the Nacional grapevine is harvested end September/early October when the grapes are perfectly ripe. Every precaution is taken so that the two or three tons of grapes reach the lagares under the very best conditions.
Vinification of Nacional wine is exactly the same as for our other wines: treading in stone lagares and the addition of grape eau-de-vie to the partly fermented must.
Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage is matured in a seasoned oak vat with a capacity of 2,500 litres.
What are the declared vintage years for Quinta do Noval Vintage Nacional ?2011,2004, 2003, 2001, 2000,
1998, 1997, 1996, 1994, 1991,
1987, 1985, 1984, 1983, 1982, 1980,
1978, 1975, 1970,
1967, 1966, 1964, 1963, 1962, 1960,
1958, 1955, 1950,
Taste-wise, what are the differences between the Vintage style and the Old Tawny style with Quinta do Noval ?- Noval signature
. Vintage Ports: the personality of the soil at Quinta do Noval
. Old Tawny Ports: the freshness and complexity of our wines aged in casks
- Range of aromas
. Vintage Ports: ripe red fruit, morello cherry…
. Old Tawny Ports: walnut, hazel nut, dry fruit, almond…
. Vintage Ports: rich, ripe and velvety
. Old Tawny Ports: smoother, fluid, delicate
. Vintage Ports: potent for the young Vintage Ports which become more rounded the longer the wine stays in the bottle
. Old Tawny Ports: already refined, silky and suave through long years of maturing in casks
What is the impact on our ports of the different lengths of time spent maturing ?Ageing in casks gives the wine a moderate and regular input of oxygen. The natural porosity of wood is utilised to mature wine slowly with no sudden changes.
Old Tawnies spend their whole life in casks. The average maturing age for blended wines is 10, 20 or over 40 years. This is when they take on notes of walnut, dry fruit and spice and reveal growing intensity of colour, complexity, concentration and depth of aroma.
Classic vintages are given short maturing times (about 2 years). They thus express the intensity of fruit and the potency of grape variety in their young condition. When aged – in this case in bottles for 10, 15 or even 40 years – they will attain an incomparable complexity of aroma.
Longer maturing in casks for the Late Bottled Vintage – at least 4 years – helps to round off the potent and tannic grape varieties of the Douro. The wine becomes smoother and tannins finer. When the maturing process is complete, the wine is pleasant to drink as soon as it is bottled. In the case of our unfiltered LBV, it will develop further with bottle age.
What influences the lenght of time during which a bottle can be drunk after opening ?The length of time the wine was in contact with oxygen during the maturing process.
For example, an old tawny spends its life in a cask and so enjoys prolonged contact with oxygen. After opening, a bottle of tawny can be enjoyed for several weeks.
A Vintage is matured in casks only for a relatively short period. It ages more when bottled with very little contact with the outside. As a result, it will oxygenise quickly after opening. This is why we recommend drinking the wine within 48 hours.
The Late Bottled Vintage, because of the intermediary length of time spent maturing in casks (a minimum of 4 years), is half-way between the two. We recommend drinking this wine within 10 days after opening the bottle.