Vintage Port 2008: Noval and Romaneira

I have some Vintage Port from 2008 open at the moment. First up, two with a sort of family resemblance (Christian Seely is involved in both). Quinta do Noval has, over recent vintages, established itself as one of the top Douro properties. Romaneira is one to watch: a fantastically situated Quinta only recently renovated and now turning out first-rate table wines and Ports.

Quinta da Romaneira Vintage Port 2008
Very deep colour. Fresh, vivid sweet blackberry and plum nose is pure and intense. The palate shows lovely fresh, pure fruit: concentrated raspberries and blackberries with nice tannic structure and sweetness. An elegant, almost Burgundian Vintage Port with good structure. Try again in 10 years. 94/100

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2008
Intensely aromatic with floral, olive, meat and dark fruit characters. There are blackberries, blackcurrants and plums. The palate is concentrated and boldly fruity with real depth and some nice, spicy structure. Expressive and quite serious. Delicious now, but with potential for real development, with firm but fine tannins. 96/100

4 comments to Vintage Port 2008: Noval and Romaneira

  • Andrew Halliwell

    No doubt the Quinta do Noval is “delicious now”. I was just wondering if you think that vintage port has undergone the same sort of flavour development as other big red (table) wines, in that it is possible to enjoy them at less than 2 years. Traditionally the idea would be wait 20-30 years, am I right? Also do you know if vintage port goes through a dumb patch after an initially attractive youth, before revealing it’s true self – like top Bordeaus and other wines are supposed to?

  • Andrew, that’s an excellent point. I think Vintage Port is delicious young, and then goes through a dumb-ish phase, before emerging at say 15 years of age. Therefore drink them very young or older.

    I think the quality has improved, for example through much better spirit now being used for fortification. But I don’t think that the wines have changed all that much – they’re still tannic beasts, and no one does silly malo in barrel and using too much new oak like they do with Bordeaux. I think Bordeaux has changed more than vintage Port has.

  • Paul

    Jamie, just wondering what you mean by “silly malo in barrel”…? Do you mean that malo is not done for Ports? or that it’s done but not in barrel? Sorry… probably dumb questions, but just wanted to really understand the process a bit better and this is something I’ve never read or heard about before.

  • Not dumb questions. By ‘silly’ I was saying that the trend in Bordeaux for going early to barrel and doing malo there may make the wines taste better at primeur stage, but I’m not sure that it’s ideal for the long run. Of course, with many red wines where malo is taking place very late, then the wine will be in barrel already.

    With Port, fortification occurs part way through alcoholic fermentation, so I’d be pretty sure that malo isn’t going to then follow! But I hadn’t really thought of this before. We tend to forget about poor old oenococcus and focus on yeasts.

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