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First taste: Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2018

“ It will perhaps come as no surprise that we are declaring the Quinta do Noval 2018 Vintage Port,” said MD Christian Seely, which he goes on to describe as elegant.  I’m not sure elegant is a word I’d use to describe this imposing, rather strapping Vintage Port.  Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2018 has the delicious dry extract I associate with Noval from a generally declared year, making for a less overtly fruity, brooding mineral style. 

Seely talks through the vintage and resulting Port in this video; his commentary is summarised below.

Quinta do Noval Vintage Report

Quinta do Noval terraces

Very cold temperatures and high rainfall until mid-summer

Like 2017, 2018 was a year of low yields, but for different reasons. 2017 was a year of extreme drought, while 2018 was marked in the first part of the year by heavy rainfall. This meant that potential yields were naturally much reduced by the difficulties of the flowering period.

A hot, dry end of summer

Subsequently however, a long hot dry summer ensued. Water levels in the soil had been replenished, and the result of this excellent ripening period on a low yield is evident in the 2018 Vintage Port, which is magnificently ripe, profound and expressive.

A long, summery period, high temperatures and water stress were optimum for the anthocyanic richness of the skins and ideal ripening

As always, the Quinta do Noval Vintage Port is made exclusively from grapes from our Quinta in the heart of the Douro Valley, and the quantity bottled (1600 cases)
of the 2018 Vintage Port represents just 7% of the Quinta’s production, as usual a very strict selection of the very best lots to make the Quinta do Noval blend. Both Touriga
Nacional and Touriga Francesa flourished in 2018, in particular the Francesa which benefited from the ideal ripening conditions, and this Vintage Port blend is dominated by these two varietals.

The harvest took place from 5 September to 13 October in good weather conditions, with high temperatures and no rain. It produced high quality wines with good levels of sugar, acidity and phenolic compounds.  The Ports are exceptional with remarkable finesse.

Vinification

A blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinto Cão and Sousão. Grapes are trodden by foot to obtain the must, then they macerate in the lagares, the traditional stone vats from the Quinta, to ensure the best possible extraction of aromas, colour and tannins during fermentation.

It is matured for 18 months in wooden casks in the air-conditioned cellars of the Quinta, at the demarcated region of the Douro Valley before bottling.

My tasting note Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2018

A tight, sooty, mineral nose and attack, with a plume of powdery tannins.  Sturdy, tightly coiled, with bitter chocolate and fleeting glimpses of blackberry and violets, making for an emphatically mineral-tasting palate. An hour later, opening up a touch, blackcurrant, mulberry, blackberry, violets peek through, with citrus hints – orange blossom/peel and grapefruit oil – to the back palate. On day two, it has moved into a different gear.  Parrying tannin and acidity animate the palate – a vigorous swirl of chocolate and liquorice-edged plum and red and black berry and currant fruits, with violets, orange blossom and grapefruit peel lift.   It finishes long, spicy, very deep, with lashings of fine, fine cocoa tannins, minerals and spice – great sense of tip-to-toe dry extract. Residual sugar 100 g/l, TA 4.8G/l, pH 3.58, 19.5%  Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2018 is a release of 1,600 cases, representing 7% of production.  £540.00/12 bottles in bond at Farr Vintners & BI Fine Wines, £270/6 bottles at DBM Wines,  Lea & Sandeman & L’Assemblage, 

Other Vintage Port 2018 Reviews

Ramos Pinto Quinta do Bom Retiro Vintage Port 2018

Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port 2018 and Dow’s Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira 2018 Vintage Port 

Sandeman Vintage Port 2018

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