Noval wines get new look with ‘great’ 2016 vintage

Quinta do Noval has unveiled a new look for its range of wines as the Port house releases its Douro reds from the ‘great’ 2016 vintage.

The new-look Noval range of reds

At a masterclass in London this morning, Christian Seely, who is head of AXA Millésimes, which owns Quinta do Noval, presented a range of repackaged wines from the estate, all of which hailed from 2016 harvest.

Describing it as a “great year in the Douro”, he said that it had yielded “some of the most thrilling vintage Ports ever produced”, along with “great wines” – and it was the latter that had been given a revised appearance.

As pictured above, the labels and names of the wines have been modified and standardised in order to present the great diversity of grape varieties more clearly. There are now six wines available, of which three are blended and three are single varietal wines, made using Touriga Nacional, Syrah and Petit Verdot.

Speaking further about the conditions in 2016, Seely said it was “a year of extremes” with “a mild and wet winter” and “a lot of water between January and the end of April”, ensuring the vines could benefit from a good reserve of soil moisture during what was then a “very hot and dry” August.

“We have almost desert conditions between the beginning of May and the end of September, so unless you have a good reserve of water in the soil, the situation can become alarming by July,” he said.

Indeed, in 2016, despite the relatively-high soil moisture content, such was the heat in August, the vines began “to shut down”, according to Seely.

Thankfully, three-days of rain in mid-September ensured the vines recovered, ensuring a smooth, sustained ripening until harvesting finished.

“If you look through the harvest reports at Noval you will see in most of the great years it is stated that at the end of August or early September, ‘fortunately there was much-needed rain’ because it gets the vines going again for the harvest period, which can go on for 6-8 weeks,” he recorded.

“That is vital, and it happened in 2016, when between 12-14 September we had three days of rain, followed by lovely sunny weather for the rest of September and throughout October, meaning that we could harvest in perfect conditions, and the rain meant that the wines started working again so we had great end of season maturity,” he continued.

As a result, he said, “2016 is great for red wines and Port”.

Finally, he announced, “And 2017 was lovely as well, it was absolutely great, and we will most certainly declare Quinta do Noval vintage Port and Nacional from the 2017 harvest as well.”

Indeed, after the masterclass was over, Seely described the 2015, 16 and 17 harvests as “three marvellous years in the Douro for reds and vintage Port.”

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