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Quinta do Noval Virtual Tasting at 67 Pall Mall

Posted: 20:02 Sun 28 Jun 2020
by JacobH
I was in two minds about whether to go for this but am very glad I decided to do it in the end.

The offer was for six samples and a hour-long group virtual tasting with Christian Seely. The samples seemed to be approximately ⅒ of a bottle each, so c.75ml. They arrived on Thursday for the Sunday tasting in little glass bottles with extremely tight plastic T-Corks that gave the Quinta da Pedra Alta glass T-Corks a run for their money in terms of tightness but that is probably a good thing. Reports online suggest that the wines are decanted and the samples are filled in an argon-filled fish-tank and, certainly, they benefited from a bit of decanting from the bottles and into a glass which suggests that they were treated against oxidisation. They were packed with some gel cool-bags (one of which, unhelpfully, exploded) and a sticker which shows the length of time they had been exposed to temperature above 20°C which I didn’t know existed but should be standard for all wine-in-the post. I think they were also supposed to come with a thermometer sticker. Mine didn’t but that didn’t really bother me.

The Ports were: 2017, 2011, 2003, 2000, 1994 and 1966. I had high hopes for this selection, since it seemed to me to be a “greatest hits” from the 1990s to date and (thankfully!) I was not disappointed. Actually, considering the lousy time Noval had in the 1980s and 1970s, you might say they were probably the best from 1975 to date. They were all excellent. The only fully mature Port was the 1966 but of the youngsters I was particularly impressed by the 2017 and 2000.

I was wondering if I might get a sense of a house style from the evening. CHR asked Christian Seely who described it in fairly imprecise terms (balance and elegance, I think) which was rather less specific than, say, Johnny Graham’s comments about Churchill being drier. My impression is that they are aiming for quite tannic and long-lasting Ports, in the middle of the sweet-to-dry scale, and are happy to vary the acidity by quite a lot. I wonder if this is a feature of it being an SQVP: if you are taking the best grapes you grow each year and seeing if they can be a VP or not, you might expect more variety than if you are buying grapes from a variety of places and so have more to work with to produce a consistent house style.

Christian is a notably engaging speaker and one of the best presenters for these sorts of tastings. He discussed all sorts of things which I had vaguely wondered about but not known before. The only thing I wish I had asked him is how often grapes from the Nacional vineyard end up in the other blends (particularly in years when there isn’t a Nacional declaration).

Re: Quinta do Noval Virtual Tasting at 67 Pall Mall

Posted: 21:14 Sun 28 Jun 2020
by JacobH
Tasting notes:
1966
1994
2000
2003
2011
2017