jamie goode's wine blog

Monday, June 19, 2006

Four port recommendations, all from Quinta do Noval, and prompted by the delicious 10 year old Tawny which I am sipping as I write - nicely complex, spicy and quite elegant (12.49 at Waitrose until the end of the month, then 14.49). Port needs to be split into two quite distinct styles: Tawny (or wood Ports) and Vintage. The former are underrated. Extended ageing in cask gives rise to pale coloured, complex wines. The best are fantastic. This Noval 10 year old has lovely fudgey, woody, spicy complexity, with a bit of citrus fruit freshness to give balance. Even better is the Noval 20 year old Tawny I had a few months back, which is utterly brilliant. It's like the 10 year old, but with the expression knob turned up higher (more complex, more elegant). It's also much pricier, but if you feel you deserve an expensive treat, the upgrade is worth it (about 35 a pop).

If instead you are in the mood for vintage style Port, then Noval is also a good destination. One of my house ports is the Noval Unfiltered LBV, available from Oddbins for 11.99. The current vintage, 1999, is very good. It's a big, tannic, fairly burly wine with lots of presence and class. Delicious. If you are feeling flush, Oddbins also have the sensation 2003 Vintage Port from Noval. It's a rather painful 55, but this is one of the wines of the vintage (I gave it 96 points FWIW): drinkable young if you are up for it, but a wine that will age well, too. Fortnum and Mason have it slightly cheaper, as will a lot of independents. Port is wonderful, and we should be drinking more of it. I reckon I'll be stocking up on whatever comes from the 2004 vintage, because this has made some fantastic table wines in the Douro: if it isn't widely declared as a Port vintage, then expect there to be some great value single quinta Ports produced. But don't forget about tawny styles. Different, but equally good.

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