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(2019) Noval Petit VerdotFamed for its Port wines, Quinta do Noval has also carved a fine reputation for the quality of its Douro Valley unfortified wines. Some of these are made from traditional varieties of the region like Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca, but under the ownership of AXA Millesimes and their Managing Director, Christian Seely, French varieties like Syrah and Petit Verdot have also been planted.

Though highly unsusual in the Douro, these varieties have been chosen to specifically match the Douro's climate and soils. As well as appearing in blends, they have also been bottled as single varietal wines. The Médoc's Petit Verdot really benefits from the extra heat and sunshine of the Douro, and this 2016 was aged for 10 months in French oak, 40% of which was new. It pours a deep, saturated crimson-black, immediately suggesting concentration and density. Vinous aromas take in black cherry and blackcurrant, a delicate and fragrant exotic spiciness from the oak, and pepper and cedar coming through too. In the mouth that intensity of fruit and extract is there: plush, concentrated and dark, but with a fine edge of acidity retained, something that suggests the freshness that the Douro soils somehow give to even the beefiest wines, and a taut tannin structure. Match to a steak or some venison, and perhaps decant for an hour or two to soften those youthful tannins.
(2019) Beautiful lift to the nose here, violets and sweet spices, a slick of black fruits and lightening touch of raspberry in there too. Rich but freshness too, a graphite edge to black cherry and cassis, smooth and fine tannins and beautifully integrated acidity.
(2019) Produced only in exceptional vintages, this foot-trodden blend of whole-bunch Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and other Douro varieties was fermented in lagares and open barrels and aged for 24 months in French oak. This has a lovely nose, vinous and dark, with cherry and ripe plum, again a cocoa and liquorice twist of darkness, and a plush underpinning of quality oak. The palate is flooded with sweet fruit, but it's an elegant wine, the tannins finer than in the Boango bottlings, a real sense of refinement and harmony into a long finish. This should also cellar well for five years or more.
(2015) Once again this wine, a 2012 vintage this time, hits 15.5% alcohol. From a sunny part of the vineyard at the top of the slope, this is made from 'old vines' - a mixed planting of a dozen or more varieties including Bastardo, Moreto, Mourisco Tinto and Rufete as well as more familiar names. Foot trodden as are all of Pinalta's wines, this was aged in small barrels and has lots of gloss, velvet and chocoalte on the nose, there is deep-set black fruit and again a pleasing little lift. Ripe and substantial on the palate, it's mouth-coating stuff but has more flesh and in the end a little more complexity than the Pingo de Lua. Again please note, the price quoted is actually in Euros, not pounds.
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