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
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.
Anticipated maturity: 2030-2100