(2019) Wines in this blend are between 12 and 25 years old, the extra decade or so in barrel not altering the colour too much, but adding to the firm, burnished, walnutty, cinnamon-stick aromatics. There's deep Seville orange fruitiness too, but the aromas are polished and dark. On the palate the 138g/l residual sugar makes its sweet presence felt, but there is so much incisive citrussy fruit still, and those inter-weaving complex layers of nuttiness and old polished wood as well as acidity. A darker, more intense style than the 10-year-old.
(2019) Elegant lift here, the florals and bergamot and violet perfume pronounced, creamy black berries, so pure. Beautifully supple sweetness with some bittersweet cocoa and endive bite of cherry ripe acidity. Deep and delicious.
(2019) A little more caramel and light dustiness, walnut husks and dry in character. The palate has that intensity ramped up slightly, but it's a lovely bitter orange tang of acidity. Long and so intense.
(2019) Much more of walnutty and dried fruit character, figs and a touch of shellac, the palate super sweet, a lovely warmth of the integrated alcohol, not at all stale or clumsy: the acidity and freshness retained.
(2018) A blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão and Sousão foot-trodden in lagares, before spending 18 months in barrel at the quinta in the Douro. Black as pitch, the nose is at once meaty and suffused with rich, dark, chocolaty berries, a little kirsch-like lift adds to the charm, elegance and complexity. In the mouth there's a very unforced feeling of concentration, the fruit deep and creamy, but the agile, mineral acidity and rasp of firm tannin giving a juiciness and length. Like all of these 2016's, Noval needs time, but is a beauty in the making. 82g/l Residual sugar.
(2017) What a contrast in styles between this and Churchill's, the other major Port name to declare 2014. It is lighter, not just physically in terms of texture (and a drop or two of alcohol) but with some herbal, even floral notes lined-up against the Churchill's brawny depth. In the mouth beautiful raspberry ripple lift and creaminess sits over a more dense, plum and chocolate depth, some tobacco, fig and spice developing and quite a serious tannic structure. There is not a huge amount to separate these in my mind on absolute quality, but quite a gulf stylistically.
(2017) Scot Andrew Norrie came across a pipe of an old Port, being sold to help with funeral expenses for an elderly Douro family, and set about helping out by establishing exactly what was in the barrel before bottling and selling it. Finally he tracked down the necessary paperwork to establish it is a Port registered in 1935 and made at famous Quinta. It's a wine with a dark colour, still some ruby at the core, and it is intensely aromatic: there is obvious age with a bit of oxidation character and brown sugar, but a beguiling mix of cherry and sweet, damp earth too. In the mouth it is generous, and sweetly rich, Agen prunes and Medjool dates, a touch of liquorice and also honey, and a long, intense finish with the curranty sweetness offset by still good acidity and a bit of tensioning alcohol. Really it's treat to taste this, and wonderful that it has been made available.
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