(2016) What a treat to taste this wine on release, having been so impressed (97 points) by a pre-release tasting at the Quinta in 2011. The nose of the 2001 Naçional is still sensational in its soaring, floral and Maraschino cherry brightness, the spices and the depth of chocolaty, smooth richness, tar and tobacco nuances and the solidity of the fruit. On the palate, still so impressive in the purity and supple, balanced finesse, so dense and smooth in the delivery of its blue/black fruit and Christmas cake spice and Agen prune richness, but the tight tannins so elegantly constraining any sense of obvious ripeness, the acidity balancing the huge core of sweetness so effortlessly. Yes, a Nacional that's as great in the bottle as the barrel, and which is probably close to immortal.
(2012) A wisp of smoke and a touch of liquorice and plum are the immediate impressions, and spirit way in the background. Bottom notes of chocolate and trills of flower and kirsch add slowly developing complexity. Fantastic silky texture and pure, ripe, chocolate-deep black fruit. Coffee and a delightful twist of liquorice into a hugely long finish. What a wine, and what potential.
(2012) What a gorgeous colour, bright, but palate and translucent ruby. Hugely complex nose, tar and wild flowers, espresso and truffle, some menthol and leafy briar and woodland. No spirit on the nose. The palate is just beautiful, extraordinary vitality and energy, the berry fruits and the refined chocolate-touched tannins, all the sweetness there.