Quinta do Noval 2004 Single Estate Late Bottled Vintage Port: seasonal wine of the day

This time last year, I visited Quinta do Noval – a real treat (see here).  Surveying the property (pictured) with Christian Seely, MD of parent company AXA Millésimes, Seely pointed out that, since AXA acquisition’s in 1993, some 60ha of the 145ha property have been replanted.  Adamant that old vines do not necessarily the best wines make, Seely reckons that, after five years, grapes make the premium wine grade and, from 8 years onwards, are vintage port quality.

Of course, the proof is in the pudding and, on the back of these plantings, this year Noval has launched two new Port wines.  Noval Black is a relatively forward style aimed at a new generation of Port drinkers – check out the Tim Burton-style website here and you’ll see what I mean!  Quinta do Noval Single Estate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2004, on the other hand, is as serious as LBV (Late Bottled Vintage Port) gets. 

Most big brand LBVs are high volume wines made from widely sourced, bought in fruit.  As the name suggests, Noval’s Single Estate LBV is made exclusively from Noval fruit.  Uncommonly elegant but well structured, it’s trodden by foot in traditional granite lagares for maximum colour and tannin extraction, a treatment usually reserved for vintage Ports.  It is bottled unfiltered (“for greater richness and depth”) after five years in large oak vats.  Sure, it’s pricey for a Late Bottled Vintage Port at around £17.99 to £19.99 but, given provenance and process, I reckon it’s a great buy if a Single Quinta Vintage Port is out of reach, either price-wise or in terms of approachability.  Here’s my tasting note:

Quinta do Noval 2004 Single Estate Late Bottled Vintage – this blend of 40% Touriga Nacional, 20% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinto Cão and 20% Tinta Roriz is bright and beautiful with a seductive nose of violets, rock rose, sweet plum and maraschino cherry, all of which follow through on a silkily fruited palate, together with a hint of dark chocolate.  Almost sleight of hand because there’s a firm backbone of (ripe) tannin beneath, a delightful freshness too, which makes for an elegant, relatively dry finish (for Port).   Very refined and, while delicious now, I reckon it’ll keep 10 years plus.   £19.99 down to £17.99 until 4/1/2011 (or whilst stocks last) at Ocado.

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