2011 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port
Expert Ratings
WS 97 points
ST 96 points
RP 95 points
(Read the full reviews below)
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Quinta do Noval, Douro Valley Wine Spectator's 97-point 2011 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port

The story of what most are now calling the greatest Port vintage in 50 years began a full 12 months before the 2011 harvest. The autumn of 2010 was unusually wet. Rain slowly penetrated these schistous soils, leaving a high water table in the substrata. From January to August 2011, the region experienced drought conditions. Just 250mm of rain fell, roughly 60 percent of the norm. By the end of the third week of August, the vines were beginning to suffer from hydric stress. While sugar levels were sky high, tannins remained underripe and phenolic maturity was lagging.

Then — as if on cue — on the night of Sunday, August 21st, clouds rolled in. The first drops that fell on Quinta do Noval were the size of small water balloons. Thunder cracked, and the skies lit up. That massive storm, coupled with another in the first week of September, reinvigorated the vines. Those two flash storms egged the plants on to the finish line.

Last December, we participated in a marathon tasting of the 2011 vintage Ports. All the great houses were well-represented, including Croft, Fonseca, Taylor Fladgate, Warre's and Graham. But as has been the case over the last six or seven vintage Port years, the house that most impressed Robert Parker, Stephen Tanzer, Wine Spectator — and WineAccess — would be the herculean Quinta do Noval.

Before we get to our tasting notes, a bit of advice about a vintage that is likely to go down as the finest since 1963. Back in the day, when we first began tasting and collecting vintage Port, these ultra-plush fortified wines were hard-nosed and unyielding on release. For the most part, we rarely popped a cork unless the wine was at least 10 years old. Today, due to vast improvements in cellar conditions and vinification techniques, Quinta do Noval's vintage Ports are elixir-like on release, drinking beautifully right out of the gate, even as the top critics in the world suggests that his mammoth 2011 will hit its peak sometime in the 2040s!

The 2011 Quinta do Noval is a gentle monster. Deepest ruby to the rim with tightly wound aromas of blackberry, Asian spice, anise and minerals. Rich, and richly textured, savory on the attack, with great density and class, velour-like in texture, chiseled and beautifully delineated. After two hours of air, the 2011 Noval really starts to show off, having shed a bit of baby fat and honed in on the spectacular black-fruit core, finishing with exquisite cut, and keeping all the natural opulence of 2011 in perfect check. Drink now-2045.

The 2011 vintage was rated 99 points by Wine Spectator, the highest rating in the last 50 years.

The 2011 Quinta do Noval received 97 points from Wine Spectator, 96 from Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, and 95 points from Wine Advocate.

Tasting Notes

2011 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port
"Vibrant, with luscious yet elegant mineral-infused flavors of dark currant, ripe cherry, green fig and raspberry. Shows ample pepper notes, with the tannins offering plenty of muscle and grip on the long, silky finish. Complex and restrained. Best from 2022 through 2047."
97 points -- Wine Spectator

"Deep, saturated ruby. Tight, high-pitched aromas of black fruits, minerals, spices, printer's ink and licorice, complicated by nutty and earthy nuances. Juicy, savory and youthfully imploded; not hugely opulent or sweet but a wine of great density and class, showing a pliant texture and no rough edges. This seemed even more intense after I swallowed it, showing a palate-drenching quality with no weightiness. Doesn't have quite the dimension or floral complexity of the Nacional but a wine of great finesse, and built for decades of life."
96 points -- Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

"The 2011 Quinta do Noval Vintage has a very intense, very refined bouquet with quite broody black fruit, briary, smoke and mineral. This is very fresh, similar to the barrel sample last April. The palate is silky smooth on the entry with well-judged acidity. This is utterly harmonious and refined, effortless even, with a pure blackberry and lightly spiced finish that lingers long in the mouth. This is an outstanding Noval that is only surpassed by the 2000, a Noval that does not deserve to be over-shadowed by its Nacional sibling. Drink 2018-2040. Tasted January 2014."
95 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate


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