Nacional 2007 ?

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“I did want to ask about 2007 nacional: what was the reason to do not bring it out as a nacional?’ asked me Albino Tuosto in response to the New Douro Tasting post. Herewith my answer :

We did not declare a Quinta do Noval Nacional 2007. This might seem strange as it was such a beautiful Vintage generally, but the Nacional is a strange phenomenon.

As you know, it is made from grapes grown on ungrafted vines in a small area at the heart of the Noval vineyard. This gives the wine a unique and distinctive personality: when it is great, as in years like 03, 00, 97, 96, 94, 63 it is quite extraordinary, one of the great wines of the world. But it is a wine that confirms something that is for me a deeply held belief, which is that 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. Nacional is what it is because of the grapes and where they come from, not because of anything clever that we do.

However, though it is 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 Nacional was outstanding, and we decided to declare it. In 2007 on the other hand the Nacional just did not sing. It decided to be great in 1996; it decided not to be in 2007. It is just how it is. The decision not to declare the 07 Nacional was therefore a relatively easy one. I decided when I arrived at Noval in 1993 that we would never declare a Nacional that wasn’t great, something we have stuck to ever since. Of course, one can imagine the short term temptation to declare the Nacional 07 anyway – we would have been able to sell it! But we are custodians of the reputation of this magical wine, and long term that is what matters. So I am sorry, no Nacional 2007. But watch this space: every year is a new opportunity. We have had a good run of great Nacionals in recent years, and I am sure there will be more to come in the future.”

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10 thoughts on “Nacional 2007 ?”

  1. Christian,

    Your response captures what Nacional is and should always be quite perfectly. As you know I have had more than my fair share of these wonderful wines and what you allude to is absolutely true: if it isn’t spectacular it just shouldn’t be declared.

    Best Regards

  2. Thanks Christian for your answer

    Dereck did already answer my feelings too. (i’m still trying to improve my english)

    This week i’m going to open a 2007 noval from a half bottle and taste/enjoy it.

    Best Regards

  3. Dear Christian,

    the Noval Vintage Port of 2007 is an absolut fantastic Port and it is very hard to imagine that a Port from a very close location will not live up to its standards, even though these standards are very high. I was thinking about this phenomenon for a long time, but maybe the 2007 Noval has such beauty because it contains the Nacional grapes (?).



  4. Dear Axel

    Thanks for your comments about the 07 Quinta do Noval. But it tastes like that because that was what Quinta do Noval was like in 07. There is no wine from the Nacional parcel in the blend!All best Christian

    @Axel Probst

  5. Dear Albino

    Thank you for the original question, which has generated quite a lot of interest. I hope you enjoyed the half bottle of 07. I find the 07s quite delicious to drink at the moment, though they will probably go into a more closed up phase in a year or so. Best Christian@Albino Tuosto

  6. “So I am sorry, no Nacional 2007.” I’m not sorry, nor should you be. It would be sorry to declare one that didn’t live up to the name.

  7. Dear Christian,

    In a year like 2007, where Quinta do Noval made such a stunning Vintage Port, since the Nacional juice was not used to blend in with the grapes from the rest of the property’s vineyards … how will it wind up being used?

    Congratulations on a remarkable achievement with the regular bottling of Quinta do Noval and also very fine efforts by both the Silval and Quinta da Romaneira too!