The 2017 Nacional has an ethereal bouquet that takes time to unfold but delivers the same dazzling complexity as the last time I tasted it. Black fruit, graphite and pressed flower, perhaps a little more compact than you would expect, so perchance it is just closing down a tad. Excellent cohesion on the palate, spicy and peppery, a crescendo of flavours leading towards its bravura finish. The 2017 delivers, but it’s a Port not for the faint-hearted. This is the "Wagner of Quinta do Noval"! Tasted at the Quinta do Noval tasting at Spring restaurant in London.
Anticipated maturity: 2033-2100
Ungrafted vines. Same winemaking as for the straight Quinta do Noval. TA 4.68 g/l, RS 99 g/l, pH 3.51. Black core with wide purple rim. Less exuberant than the Noval at the moment, less sweet-smelling and scented but it has immediate elegance and purity, almost subtle in this context. Opening up to bergamot and tea leaf. So concentrated it is all tight and closed up even though you can see it is rich and packed with fine black fruit. Spicy, tangy and mouth-watering. Outstanding length and promise. (JH)
Anticipated maturity: 2037-2070
Robert Parker 100
The 2017 Vintage Port Nacional is a field blend, mostly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto CA o, SousA o 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 grippinga 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.
Anticipated maturity: 2035-2085