Quinta do Noval

Nacional Vintage Port 2017

Douro Valley, Portugal

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The word “Nacional” refers to the fact that the vines are Portuguese vines growing in Portuguese soil with no foreign root stock and are therefore “attached to the soil of the Nation.” When Noval’s vineyards were devastated by phylloxera in the late 19th century, the owner decided to replant a tiny parcel of the vineyard with ungrafted vines. These 6 acres of Nacional vines lie in an area indistinguishable from and surrounded by the other Noval vines.

Studied thoroughly by agronomists and scientists, the survival of the tiny parcel of legendary ungrafted vines is a mystery and the National is a unique and extraordinary phenomenon that does not necessarily follow the same rhythm as the rest of the Quinta do Noval. In some years a great Nacional is produced when Noval does not even declare the Quinta do Noval Vintage. In others, Quinta do Noval makes a great Vintage Port but the Nacional does not perform. 

Tasting a bottle from the minute production of Nacional is every port lover’s fantasy and Nacional is every port lover’s fantasy and this great wine is a source of pride to the people of Portugal and at its best the finest expression of the extraordinary terroir of Quinta do Noval.

Up close, it becomes apparent that the Nacional vines are slightly less vigorous, with smaller trunks and less foliage, and with leaves that are slightly less vibrant green. The berries are smaller, giving a higher ratio of skin to juice. The grapes are picked in one day and trodden in only the smallest lagares but otherwise are treated with the same meticulous care as the other Quinta do Noval wines.

“This wine is a mysterious phenomenon, a magical wine produced in extremely limited quantities and only in a few years each decade. It is the expression of a terroir and confirms something that is for me a deeply held belief. The Nacional is great because of the grapes and where they come from, not because of anything particular that we do. It has a unique personality, an extraordinary intensity and, even after many years of ageing, retains an astonishing youthfulness.” Christian Seely

VINEYARD

The Nacional parcel is planted with a mix of the noble grape varieties of the Douro, principally Touriga Franca; Tinto Cão; Touriga Nacional; Sousão and Tinta Roriz. As a vine dies, it is replanted from the cuttings of another vine in the vineyard.

WINEMAKING

Fermentation: The grapes were fermented in the traditional stone “lagares” of the Quinta, with temperature control at 84°F. Grapes were trodden by foot to obtain the must, then macerated during fermentation to
obtain the best possible extraction.
Aging: The wine was aged for 18 months in wooden barrels in the cellars of the Quinta.

VINTAGE

2017 was characterized by a cold, dry winter followed by an exceptionally hot and dry spring and summer. Apart from heavy rainfall (25mm) on July 6, only 300ml of rain fell since November 2016. June was the hottest month since 1980, with temperatures reaching 104-111°F in the Douro Valley during a heat wave lasting from June 7 – 24. Due to these extreme weather conditions, all phases of the vine’s growth were 15 – 20 days early compared to 2016. The vines weathered the shortage of water and the high temperatures well. At the end of August the harvest looked very promising, with excellent sanitary conditions. Harvest started much earlier than usual due to the weather: from August 17 for the white wines and August 21 for the reds and the Ports, lasting until September 28, with high temperatures and a total absence of rain.

Color

Red

Appellation

Douro Valley, Portugal

Alcohol

19.5%

Suggested Retail Price

$1125.00

Reviews

"Rich and vibrant"

Wine Advocate - The 2017 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 99 grams of residual sugar and was bottled about a month before this tasting after 18 months in wooden vats. In 2016, I might've made an argument that the regular Noval was better. In this vintage, this seems to be a clear choice, granting that Ports change constantly in their youth. Its siblings at all levels in the last few vintages are very fine, but this is an indisputable benchmark that seems to better them all. Rich and vibrant, this has plenty of stuffing and flavor, more than the regular Noval. Then, it adds layer after layer of power. A couple of hours of air makes both the flavors and tannins more intense. It is simply gripping—yet also remarkably fresh. It's a great Noval, and one of the shortlist candidates for "Wine of the Vintage." There were 200 cases produced.

Vinous - "The 2017 Quinta do Noval Nacional, which was trodden under foot in lagares and matured in wood for 18 months, demands considerable aeration in the glass even after extended decanting. Eventually it offers an enthralling kaleidoscope of aromas of blackcurrants, clove, thyme and very subtle truffle aromas (not scents that I often find in young Vintage Port.) It is a mercurial bouquet that constantly shape-shifts in the glass. The palate is full-bodied with perfect balance. This is a faultless Vintage Port whatever way you look at it. From start to finish it conveys a sense of beguiling symmetry, a leitmotif of the 2017s, then astonishing energy and persistence towards the finish with cracked black pepper and clove liberally sprinkled over the vivacious black fruit. Sixty second after the wine has departed you can still feel its presence. This is an astonishing Nacional. Period."

James Suckling - "Such fine tannins and it goes on and on and on. Full-bodied, compact and very fine. Sweet plums and old-vine, bark character. Lasts for minutes. Feels dry."

More on Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port 2017

Is Portugal’s 2017 Vintage Port Better than 2016?

December 5, 2019 - James Suckling reports on the 2017 Vintage Port, which producers are quickly comparing to the legendary 1945 Vintage. Suckling agrees with the producers, but notes that perhaps the more impressive…

Last Chance to See: A Nacional Treasure

October 22, 2019 - Wine Searcher recently highlighted the renowned port producer Quinta do Noval in a story titled, “Last Chance to See: A Nacional Treasure.”  The feature, as the clever title suggests, details…

Trade Materials

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