Wine Advocate 92
"The 2009 CEDRO DO NOVAL is 50% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 10% Syrah (just a dollop this year) and 10% Tinta Roriz. It is “Duriense” instead of Douro because of the Syrah. In Noval’s lineup, this is quickly becoming the one to grab, because the quality is high and the price is low. It is becoming a repetitive overachiever. Despite containing only 10% Syrah, it has that trademark Syrah earthiness on the nose. Tightly wound, crisp and earthy, it is beautifully wrought and quite ageworthy. Juicy and remarkably flavorful on the finish, thanks to the acidity, it is a fine achievement at this price level and one of the better values in the vintage. The only problem for Noval is that many will wonder why they should trade up to the winery’s prestige wines at several times the Cedro’s price. On current tastes, I won’t suprised if many think this is the equal of Noval’s pricier wines and at various times in their development I thought so, too, although that is certainly not the final answer. With a few years passage of time, the equation will no doubt change and they may separate more. There isn’t much question about one thing, however—this is a fine value, a big, relatively deep and powerful Cedro that doesn’t disappoint. The alcohol does sometimes pop its head up (only 14% listed, though) and at other times is not at all noticeable. There were 4,000 cases produced. Drink 2013-2022."
Quinta do NovalView all from Quinta do Noval
One of the oldest port houses, Quinta do Noval is also arguably the greatest. It is unique among top port houses in that most of the ports are made from estate-grown fruit and, notably, all of the vintage Noval wines are from the single Quinta do Noval vineyard. In addition, it is difficult to elaborate on Quinta do Noval without mentioning Nacional, the legendary port made from a 6 acre parcel of ungrafted vines. When declared, only 200-300 cases of Nacional will be made, and instantly become the most sought after port in the world. Many vintages of Nacional are considered as the finest ports, and some of the finest wines, ever made.
Noval is mentioned in land registries going back to 1715, and has been sold just twice in that time, once in the late 19th century, and to its present owners in 1993. Noval has, however, a reputation for being an innovative, independent producer. Noval's focus on its vineyard and estate ports distinguishes it, but there are numerous other areas in which it has been a pioneer:
– Quinta do Noval was the first to introduce blended tawnies with an indication of average age.
– Noval introduced the first late-bottled vintage port, in 1958.-
– In response to a change in shipping laws in 1986, Noval became the first major port house to age, blend and store all its wines at its Quinta, in the Douro.
In 1994 Noval once again made a bold statement, by beginning a massive program of improvements, while re-committing to the traditional, and best, methods of port production. Namely:
– 60% of the estate's vineyards were taken out, and the terraces were rebuilt and replanted with the best quality grape varieties.
– A new winery, warehouse and bottling facility were built, and the lodge (warehouse) at the Quinta was greatly improved.
– All grapes harvested at the estate are crushed by foot, in lagares that have been made smaller and modified to better control individual lots.
The astonishing terraced vineyards of Noval, perched above the Douro and Pinhao rivers, are an infertile schist, and not soil as much as sheer rock. The elevation of the vineyards goes from just above river level to 1,200 feet, with density at about 2,000 vines per acre, and vines producing on average 30-35 hectoliters per hectare. The tremendous rewards of the work done at the estate over the last fifteen years are visible across the range of Noval ports, and have placed Noval a step ahead of everyone in the Douro.