Quinta do Noval

Quinta do Noval is a historic property and a beautiful one. It sits atop one of the most picturesque spots in Portugal's rustic Douro River Valley, actually just above a tributary known as the Pinhão River. Noval is known as a top notch producer of Port as well as for their pristine vineyards and charming Quinta. Serious Port lovers also know it as the home to the famed Nacional vineyard. This specific vineyard site comprises 2.5 hectares (approximately 7 acres) which is located directly in front of the Quinta itself. The grapes come from gnarly old ungrafted vines that are Phylloxera resistant, and they represent what are called "Nacional vines" which gave the vineyard its name. The yields are miniscule and are literally half of those from the rest of Noval's "estate" vineyards.

Founded: 1715
Website URL:  http://www.quintadonoval.com
Address:  Av. Diogo Leite, 256 ; 4400-111, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Address: +351 22 377 0270
Owners: AXA Millésimes
Managing Director: Christian Seely (oversees all AXA owned wine properties)
Winemaker: António Agrellos

Forum readers discussed their favorite Quinta do Noval Vintage Ports.

An older article on Quinta do Noval Nacional here on FTLOP, Quintessential Quinta do Noval



1890 AJS da Silva Colheita Port - This Port of the 1890 Vintage, bottled by Antonio Jose da Silva (Est. 1813) - 19,3% by volume. Medium amber in color. Compelling aromas of dried apricots, peach and butterscotch. Smooth, unctuous and with laser guided acidity. Perfect symmetry and a great Colheita with caramel, apricots and almond paste flavors. One of the best wines of the entire weekend. If it were not for a touch of spirit, this would be closing in on the ultra-rare 100 points. The finish never actually did and lived on and on. I thought about this wine for a few days after the tasting, it really was THAT good. I'll even admit going back to the empty bottle to smell it a couple of times. 98+ points

1937 Quinta do Noval Colheita Port - Bottled in 1998. Orange-Tawny hue with a golden meniscus. Toasted almonds, lemon peel and a whiff of alcohol throughout. Ahhhh, this was fabulous in the mouth, unctuous and just short of syrupy. Intense flavors of golden raisins, marzipan and molasses were supported by supple acidity. Mouthcoating and delicious, smooth but quite spirity from stem to stern. The mouthfeel, flavors and exceptional finish were so profound that had this not shown such distracting levels of heat, it would have scored in the high nineties. I?ve had this before on a few occasions and it exhibited less heat. Drink it now through 2030. 94+ points

1974 Quinta do Noval Colheita Port - Bottled 2006. This was brought as a gift and I thought it would round out the evening and provide this fine group of LA wine lovers with a delicious dessert wine treat. Andy and I knew what was coming and had visited Noval a few weeks earlier. So it was no surprise as to what was in store for us. I've had bottles of the '74 in the past and it has always been a stunner. Served from within a bag, a few folks guessed Sherry and most of the group said Madeira with one person mentioning Tawny after guesses of mid-1800s to mid-1900s were ventured. Then again, this bottle came after nearly 2 dozen others, so who can blame 'em. Anyway, this beauty was seamless in its acidic and fruit filled approach with concentrated nutty nuances that provided an extraordinary finish. There was a drop of VA and that may have given the hint of this being 'Madeira-like' but this was uniquely Colheita. Thanks Frank for breaking this out and I can't wait to see what this would be like with an hour or two of time in decanter. I only have a few in the cellar, so this was very much appreciated. 94 points

1995 Quinta do Noval Colheita Port – Bottled 2007. Orange-ruby with light tawny color on the edge. Complex nose of toasted coconut, butterscotch, citrus peel and candied nuts with some youthful spirit. Medium-bodied and smooth in the mouth, with bracing acidity. The extended time in wood has added far more nut flavored influence than I normally find in such young Colheitas. Overall, this 1995 Noval is a very tasty Port with a lingering, citrus infused aftertaste which portends considerable upside potential. 91+ points


1962 Quinta do Noval Crusted Port – Light ruby-pink in color and bottled either in 1965 or 1966. This was a better showing than last year, although that time it followed the '62 Nacional, here it had the daunting task of coming on the heels of the 1994 Nacional. Ouch. A full arsenal of raspberry brown sugar and toffee explode on the scene. Slightly past peak, this is still such a sublime experience and a rare one for Americans as we never see old Crusted Port like this. Elegant red berry and caramel notes and decent acidity work to charm the palate while the fully resolved tannins are a non entity. Medium body weight and tasty overall with a solid finish. I'd suggest to start to drink up if you still own any. 91 points

1994 Quinta do Noval Late Bottle Vintage Port - This was my last bottle from the 3 cases I have consumed over the years. It is my all-time favorite LBV. I have ten more bottles waiting for me, but I won?t touch them for awhile. I had just one glass tonight to whet my whistle as I want it to last. Damn this is great juice. A decade later it remains a dark, purplish-ruby in color. I could easily confuse this with Vintage Port as it is that rich and refined. This Noval has lush raspberry jam and boysenberry fruit that intermingle with the chocolate backdrop, which makes for such a smooth, complex and delicious drink. There is just the slightest touch of alcohol on the finish, but who cares. This is still improving and Noval knows LBV! Good luck finding this in the USA. 93+ points and still the greatest LBV I have had.

1994 Quinta do Noval Late Bottle Vintage Port - The Noval shows beautifully opaque purple, with plum and dark berry fruit and a touch of herbs on the nose. It is a very well-made, perfectly balanced and delicious LBV. The 94 shows greater extraction than just about any other LBV I have had, even when they've been much younger. This is one heck of a complex LBV and that is something that really separates LBVs and VPs in my opinion. It could have used even more decanting time for sure, but blossomed nicely in the glass. 93 points

2003 Quinta do Noval LBV Port - An impressive effort; displaying inky, opaque magenta from core to meniscus. Heady accents of licorice, herbs, spirit and ripe blackberries provide pleasure and kept my nose planted in the glass. It?s the unfiltered variety of LBV, which Noval is well known for and is a heavy hitter that drinks more like a young Vintage Port. It was at its best the day after it was decanted. Rich, sweet cassis and blackberry syrup roll over the tongue gently, as the acidity keeps things focused, and the grip is firm yet not astringent. Noval’s ‘03 is possibly the most “complete” LBV since their exalted 1994. The finish shows great length and pedigree, with a hint of youthful spirit, which should settle down with another year or two of bottle age. Enjoy it now or over the next 15-20 years. Possibly the finest LBV I've tasted from Noval since the 1997. 93+ points


1931 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port - I wish we had bagged this one wine as I bet I would have heard some folks guess it as a wine from the 1963 vintage. Another in a line of amazing Port wines that are such a rarity and this came from my friend Bill's cellar where it has been maturing for the past 30 years. With the lack of a label but certainty of the vintage, there were questions whether or not this was possibly a 1931 Noval Nacional. Fortunately, Michael Broadbent was able to tell and his opinion is good enough for me. Unfortunately, this was just a plain 1931 Noval and not from the Nacional vineyard. Back on the positive side, I saved this wine to show last and knew that if its structure was true to form, it could possibly best all other Ports of the weekend. I last had this wine with Michael Broadbent and two others who were here on this evening five years ago and fortunately, this bottle was quite similar in provenance. In March of 1998, this was the 2nd best VP I had ever tasted. This bottle showed an unbelievable concentration of color with dark mahogany-ruby and a tawny rim, fantastic at 72 years old. Massive, rich fruit, which flaunted its array of flavors, including chocolate covered raisins, licorice and smoky prunes. This Noval offers a formidable structure that is still well delineated and delivered smooth yet chewy tannins and a hedonistic mouthfeel and finish. This is just about as good as mature Port can get and this wine has the backbone lasted at least another 2-3 decades. 99 points

1931 Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port - Before the TN, it is important to mention that the Nacional vines were replanted ca. 1925 and therefore, it was these six year old vines that produced what is considered the GREATEST PORT ever made. So much for having to use old vines for incredible depth of flavor and aging potential. Its provenance and authenticity beyond reproach, this particular bottle came from the cellar of a local collector thank you John! who purchased it from the world renowned wine collector Marvin Overton. It is the general consensus among savvy wine collectors, that the 1931 Quinta do Noval Nacional is not labeled as &Nacional & by the winery. We were told this was a 1931 as was the wine that sat in the next glass too. Only one of them was the true Nacional. I had seen the empty bottle and took many photographs of it. Having had the regular bottling on a few occasions, most recently May 2003 I knew that the difference might be negligible. Let me say honestly, that on this tasting with my taste buds at their most acutely aware state of readiness, I preferred the regular bottling to the Nacional. Not by much mind you, but I am splitting thin hairs here. At this tasting, the majority of tasters also preferred the '31 Noval to the Nacional. On to the 1931 QdN Nacional tasting note: This nearly perfect wine showed a nice ruby meniscus with an outer rim possessing an orangeish-brown hue. Bing cherry and brown sugar supported the spice on the nose. Rich and amazing depth of flavors prevailed on this full-bodied wine with overwhelming intensity to the sweetness of the juice. The aftertaste of this wine was generous and persistent. This supported my belief that this is a wine that could live on for a few more decades, seemingly in possession of magical longevity. Was I disappointed that this wine was bested by the regular bottling of 1931 Noval? No way! This for me defined &once-in-a-lifetime & Port experience, and is one that I will always remember. DRINK/HOLD 98 points

1945 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port - Some critics have dissed this wine, but I don't get it. Others, like Suckling loved it. Light red fading to tawny color now. Violets, damson and clove notes. A delicate, soft mouthfeel that is the grace of this wine. Possessing remarkable complexity with earthy, berry and tar underpinnings. Excellent mid-palate nuances of a fine mature VP. Some harsh hot spirit on the lengthy finish was distracting and detracted from the overall charm of this wine. 91 points

1963 Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port – Vintage Port wine at its zenith! It was so captivating; I opened one of my own on New Years Eve for my friends. This is Marilyn Monroe at her peak: sleek, confident and with curves in all the right places. Forget aromatics and flavor descriptors as this is in a different league. It seems like it can be had now, but it will age indefinitely. There's that gorgeous spine of acidity and lively tannins which are omnipresent yet lurking around the corner. The balance is acrobatic by nature with sumptuous fruit that lingers like a sweet dream. Drink now or through 2050. We're talking about one of the greatest VPs ever made!. 99+ points

1994 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port – Medium dark ruby color with a purplish meniscus. Given enough time in decanter, I?d have no problem sipping an entire bottle of this wine today with my wife as she'd love this style. Even though it is easy-to-enjoy now, the structural components deliver the goods and this will be a stellar wine to keep in the cellar until around 2025 when it should start to reach its peak. Yummy and impressive taste and mouthfeel, with a finish that is long and memorable. 94+ points

1994 Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port – Let me start by saying that this is only the 2nd wine I have ever anointed with a perfect score and the first Port. I?ve enjoyed this VP on a handful of memorable occasions and it has always provided a great deal of pleasure. The last time I had this wine in February, it was not showing as well as I have come to expect. However, the previous two times I had this wine, it deservedly scored 99 points. It is without doubt the greatest Nacional since the superlative 1963 which is saying a lot. Inky black in color, the ?94 provides the pure essence of grapes with some mocha and cinnamon spice. On the palate this Nacional delivers absolutely delicious juice that is not only very approachable today, but has all the stuffing to see the next century. No, not decade - century! The overall structure is apparent in every sip with enormous power. I?ll probably wait to drink my 1 bottle until my daughter's wedding day. This provided one of the most intense and lingering aftertastes of any wine I?ve ever had. Sixty years from now people will talk about this legendary Port as we do the 1931 Nacional today! This is the first and only time, I’ve ever scored a Port ... 100 points

2000 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port – Inky purplish-red and nearly opaque, with a sweet plum and grapey aromatic profile. Densely packed with boysenberry and plump purple fruit that is lightly laced with licorice. Full-bodied, and expansive on the palate with a great tannin structure and fabulous length on the finish. A distinctive Noval and with their third big VP in a row, this Shipper is clearly back on track and at the top of their game. One of the better wines of the 2000 crop. 95 points

2003 Quinta do Noval Silval Vintage Port – Less than 1000 cases produced. Fresh fragrant violets, mocha and red berries waft out of the glass. The nose is much more enjoyable from this bottle than the regular Noval. Soft, sweet blueberries and anise with moderate level of tannin and a fine finish. Not as tannic as I remember from the cask sample and mostly approachable on this particular tasting. 92 points

2005 Quinta do Noval Silval Vintage Port – Made from 100% Quinta do Noval fruit, so it really could have been a full on declaration for Q d Noval, but give credit to Mr. Christian Seely for offering consumers a delicious bargain instead. Vibrant and inky ruby/purple from core to meniscus. My first impression was that I was sniffing liquid Tootsie Roll, but there was also some tobacco, cedar and the essence of cassis. This Silval is a deeply concentrated and big boned, full-bodied VP, which offered ripe, sweet and approachable fruit. The plush velvety texture here is as good as the blackberry and black currant flavors and this VP from the folks at Noval, exhibits a classic framework with a deft balance between acidity and fruit. This might just be the most tannic Port of the vintage, with ripe and almost punishing tannins. Grip city! The aftertaste is a bit tart and the finish only medium in its duration, otherwise this would have scored even higher. It'll easily serve a 30-40 year sentence in the cellar or can be enjoyed while young, with the proper decanting regimen. 93-95 points

By | 2016-11-18T10:24:18+00:00 May 1st, 2009|Categories: Profiles in Port|0 Comments

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