The magic of Nacional vintage
GRAPES FROM UNGRAFTED VINES, IN A SMALL AREA AT THE HEART OF THE NOVAL VINEYARD, UNTOUCHED BY PHYLLOXERA, GIVE THE WINE ITS UNIQUE AND DISTINCTIVE PERSONALITY.
The magic of the soil
This is a wine that confirms something that is for me a deeply held belief. A wine is great because of the quality of the grapes, the character of the year and because of the place they come from. These things are far more important than anything we may do either in the vineyard or in the winery.We vinify the Nacional in the same way as the other grapes from the rest of the Quinta do Noval vineyard: foot treading in stone lagares, a simple if laborious procedure, and the result is always something very different for the Nacional wine compared with the wine from the rest of the Quinta. The Vintage Nacional is what it is because of the grapes and where they come from, not because of anything particular that we may do in the winery.
A distinctive phenomenon in the Noval Vineyard
Always different, and with a distinctive personality, it does not necessarily follow the same rhythm as the rest of the vineyard. In 1996 for example, which was not a declared Vintage year for the rest of the Quinta do Noval vineyard, the Vintage Nacional was outstanding, and we decided to declare it.
There are also years when we declare great Quinta do Noval Vintage Ports, when the Nacional just does not sing, so we do not declare it. 2007 was an example of this.
A rare wine
A demand for exceptional quality
Starting in 1994, we decided to declare the Quinta do Noval Vintage Nacional only when truly exceptional, something we have stuck to ever since. Every Vintage Nacional is a great Vintage Nacional. There are years when we might have been tempted to declare, but decided against it. We are custodians of the reputation of this magical wine, and in the long run that is what matters.
If the Vintage Nacional is in such great demand, it is partly because of the tiny quantities we produce, only 200 to 250 cases each year of declaration. It represents only a small percentage of Quinta do Noval Vintage production (1,200 to 5,000 cases per year of declaration), itself about 10% of Quinta do Noval production in Vintage declaration years.
The world’s most highly prized Port
Owing to this extremely low level of production, the Vintage Nacional is sold only in very small quantities. The bottle of Vintage Nacional which reaches the market from time to time is sold at a very high price, a reflection of the exceptional quality and rarity of this, the world’s most highly prized Port.