You may well have heard of Quinta do Noval; its reputation as a producer of one of the most sought-after vintage Ports, namely ‘Nacional’, is well-known. However, their flagship Port is not the subject of this email, rather the 2018 Quinta do Noval Reserva – their unfortified table wine, which I had the pleasure of tasting recently.
Initially I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Whilst the region has a long history of making unfortified wines, it is undeniably dominated by Port production, and, as a result, the black grapes planted are pretty universally ripe, powerful, thick skinned, high in colouring material and tannins, possessing all the components necessary for making high quality long-lived Port. Taming such characteristics to produce an elegant red table wine is, unsurprisingly, not straightforward.
And yet, the 2018 Quinta do Noval Reserva was the epitome of refinement. Not lacking intensity nor character, the overwhelming impression was one of elegance. Noval’s Reserva is the product of a strict selection of two main indigenous varieties, namely Touriga Nacional (80%) and Touriga Franca, also known as Francesa (20%). These two varieties work well together, Touriga Nacional providing the structure and intensity as well as dark fruit, and the lighter, more aromatic Touriga Francesa showing more delicacy and a supple note. Please see below for my tasting note: