Quinta do Noval, 1994 Vintage port (Douro, Portugal)
Very complex with aromas/flavors of dried plums, dried meats, dried leaves, wet moss, nutbread, underbrush, fruitcake, fresh caramel, and more....
Quinta do Noval has a storied history dating back to at least 1715. In 1894 Quinta do Noval was purchased by António José da Silva; he and his family took the estate into high quality port production and established the house as one of the top port producers. Not only have they driven quality, but they helped define what different styles of port mean today by introducing blended tawnies and LBVs in the mid-20th century.
A New Era
In 1993, almost exactly 100 years after their first ownership transition, the estate changed hands again, this time being sold to a French group. Soon after this, Quinta do Noval announced several changes, and in 1994 they ripped out several vineyards, re-terraced, and replanted. They also built a new winery, storage facility, and bottling line, and renovated the existing buildings on the property. And, though they may have experimented with other crushing methods, from that point forward it would be foot crushing only!
This 1994 vintage port is particularly important because it was made in the midst of transition and its quality has potential to define the new era of ownership. Because of the vineyard uprootings during this period we know that this was made from only a small portion of their absolute best vineyard sites that were spared from renovation. I imagine that with all the building going on during this year that the wine was produced amidst hustle and bustle, and possible in the midst of a construction zone. And despite - or possibly because- of all this, the wine is still delicious.