2012 Quinta do Noval (Vintage Port)
by JJ Buckley Fine Wines
On Sale $64.94 (reg. $83.94)
Few Port houses carry the caché of Quinta do Noval. The historic producer is best known for the exceedingly rare (and exceedingly expensive) Vintage Nacional. Although the Nacional will set you back many hundreds of dollar, Quinta do Noval’s regular vintage port is no slouch either and presents seriously good value vis-à-vis its big brother. We’ve got a limited supply of Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2012, and for under $75, Port lovers will want a piece of it.
Since 1993, Quinta do Noval has been part of the illustrious AXA Millésimes portfolio of wine estates, managed by Christian Seely. Per Jancis Robinson, “its winery, vineyards, and reputation have since been fully restored”. Quinta do Noval is in sterling company, alongside top Bordeaux estates Pichon Baron, Suduiraut and Petit-Village, Burgundy’s Domaine de l’Arlot and Disnókő in Tokaj. The levels of investment and attention to detail at each estate is admirable, and Quinta do Noval is truly all the better for it.
Hugh Johnson considers the Quinta do Noval vintage port as generally “elegantly structured vintage Port” that’s a “fraction of the price of rare, compelling Nacional.” This 2012 certainly rises to the occasion. Wine Enthusiast awards it 95 points and Cellar Selection, calling it a “dense and textured wine” and “while it is rich, it is also a dry style of vintage, bringing out structure as much as opulence.”
For Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Mark Squires says it shows “the style of all of Noval’s wines…elegant in the mid-palate, more focused on ageing than lushness and sweetness” and adds that it “seems quite brilliant for the year” (94 points).
Not everybody declared a 2012 vintage in Port, but being unusual is nothing unusual at Quinta do Noval. Per Christian Seely, the estate “has always had a slightly eccentric approach to vintage declarations, and indeed the house to a great extent made its name with its declaration of the great ’31 vintage. When we are convinced that we have a wine that merits declaration as a Quinta do Noval Vintage Port, we do so. 2012 is an outstanding example.”
At under $75, this is a great buy when compared head-to-head not just with recent Vintage Nacional bottlings, but also other Vintage Ports from Quinta do Noval. For those of you inclined to drink young, Squires recommends this over the 2011 and 2013 vintages: “I wouldn’t be surprised if many like it better right now than the 2011.” Those with the time and patience should lay this down for at least a decade, and then enjoy it for decades more to come.