The Nacional parcel is 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 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. More often, we are able to make both a Quinta do Noval Vintage and a Nacional Vintage. But when this happens, the wines are always profoundly different.
Characteristics of the vintage
The viticultural year began with a fairly wet winter followed by mild temperatures leading into spring. These two conditions led to an early budburst in March. April provided us with regular rainy spells that positively replenished the soil water reserves.
Flowering occurred quite early in the beginning of May that led us to expect an early harvest. June was a difficult month, very hot and humid, where regular thunderstorms and hail affected the region, but fortunately spared Quinta do Noval.
July's mild weather started to shape the character of this harvest because it contrasted completely to last year's record setting temperatures during the same month. The mild conditions continued into August and led to a slow homogeneous ripening of the grapes and noticeably less dehydration than in 2020.
We started to harvest our red grapes on the 26th of August. The Port musts gave very attractive aromas. Then came a series of heavy rainfalls on the 2nd, 13th and 24th of September. We suspended the picking for three days after the first two rains to allow the grapes to resume their ripening. We observed a positive phenolic development in all the grape varieties as the sunny weather and mild temperatures kicked in for the rest of the month. The usual spike in sugar readings never really occurred so we stretched the harvest as far as possible to allow all of our plots to ripen. We finally finished picking on the 8th of October under clear skies and moderate temperatures.
This Nacional 2021 shows a deep and vibrant crimson-blue colour. Initially rich and not restrained on the nose, it reveals a lovely perfumed with floral fruits aromas, a rare expression for this wine at this stage, as it opens up in the glass. Very dense on the palate, it displays delightful plum and berry flavours, supported by layers of silky tannins and a touch of licorice. It leads to a gentle, long and softly spiced floral finish. This wine exhibits remarkable elegance and purity.
Carlos Agrellos, Technical Director (June 2023)
It is produced using several grape varieties and not just from Touriga Nacional, as its name might suggest. These varieties are some of the noblest to be found in the Douro valley: Touriga Francesa, Tinto Cão, Touriga Nacional, Sousão and Tinta Roriz.
The wine is made in the same way as all the other grapes from the Quinta do Noval vineyard. Grapes are trodden by foot to obtain the must, then during fermentation to obtain the best possible extraction in the lagares, the traditional stone vats from the Quinta.
Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port is aged for 18 months in oak and chestnut wood vats, with a capacity of 2500 litres.
Total sugar: 104g/dm3
Total Acidity: 4.8g/dm3