By The World of Fine Wine Team | March 18 2019
“I am very happy to be able to announce the declaration of the Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2017 and the Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port 2017,” says Christian Seely, managing director of Quinta do Noval.
“I consider these wines to be among the best that I have known during my time at Quinta do Noval. The decision to declare them was a very easy one. As is well known, at Quinta do Noval, we do not hesitate to make small declarations of our Vintage Ports even in years which are not being generally declared, provided that the quality is excellent. But the 2017 is clearly an exceptional year which I believe will be remembered as one of the historic Vintage Port declarations of Quinta do Noval. The Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017 is I am sure a very great wine, and one for which the entire Noval team is very proud to have been responsible. I am both proud and happy to have been here when this wine was made. The growing season was dry and hot, both during spring and summer, with historically low rainfall and prolonged hot spells during the summer, particularly in June. Volumes were relatively low, and ripeness came early. Our harvest began in August and was finished before the end of September. The wines are characterized by an exuberant ripeness, with remarkable aromatic intensity, profound fruit and strong velvety tannins. These are great, very seductive Vintage Ports, hugely enjoyable to taste now, but clearly with immense aging potential. Perhaps among the best we will ever see.”
Characteristics of the 2017 Vintage
2017 was characterized by a cold, dry winter followed by an exceptionally hot and dry spring and summer. Apart from heavy rainfall (25mm [one inch]) on July 6 at Quinta do Noval, only 300mm (12 inches) of rain fell since November 2016. June was the hottest month since 1980, with temperatures reaching 42–44°C (108–111°F) in the Douro Valley during a heat wave lasting from June 7 to 24. Due to these extreme weather conditions, all phases of the vine’s growth were 15 to 20 days early compared to 2016.
The vines weathered the shortage of water and the high temperatures well. At the end of August the harvest looked very promising, with excellent sanitary conditions. Harvest started much earlier than usual due to the weather: from August 17 for the white wines and August 21 for the reds and the Ports, lasting until September 28, with high temperatures and a total absence of rain.
A small area at the heart of the Quinta do Noval vineyard planted with ungrafted vines and untouched by phylloxera. The word “Nacional” refers to the fact that the vines are Portuguese vines growing in Portuguese soil with no foreign root stock, and are therefore “attached to the soil of the Nation.” This great wine is a source of pride to the people of Portugal, and at its best the finest expression of the extraordinary terroir of Quinta do Noval. The Nacional is a unique and extraordinary phenomenon. It does not necessarily follow the same rhythm as the rest of the Quinta do Noval. In some years a great Nacional is produced when Noval does not even declare the Quinta do Noval Vintage. In others, Quinta do Noval makes a great Vintage Port, and the Nacional does not perform.
Noval’s 2017, alongside those of the Fladgate Group and Symington Family Estates, will be shown to the UK trade and press on May 23, 2019 by invitation only.