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21 September 2010 News, Videos

As the weather cools down, we’re thrilled to take the lid off one of the most exciting developments in our portfolio, introduced earlier this year, and appropriate after a few weeks of cooler weather.

It’s Noval BLACK.

When you look at the crème de la crème of the port world, Quinta do Noval stands out for several important reasons – most important of all, it has a singular focus on site.  Noval is one vineyard and its vintage ports, aged tawnies and LBV come from this one vineyard.  Noval’s determined and unique efforts to build all their winemaking, storage and shipping facilities at the vineyard underlie an obsession with vineyard over port-making process, and a very different, terroir-driven approach.

Noval perched above the Douro and Pinhao Rivers, the very heart of the Douro's finest area

In 1994, Christian Seely directed the effort of Noval’s new owners to re-plant two-thirds of its vineyards and build the facilities mentioned above, all of which over the previous decade had fallen into disrepair.  Without trying to exaggerate, the quality of fruit growing at Noval today is unprecedented in the Douro.  If you’ve tasted some of the Noval ports the last few years, you have seen how the LBV, 10 Year Tawny and Vintage Ports are reaching extraordinary heights as this fruit makes its way into the wines.  Two years ago, Noval decided they wanted to bottle a wine that encapsulates their site-based approach, their tremendous vineyard, and allows people to enjoy a great glass of port without having to wait two decades for their vintage port to age.  They found that in making a port this way, they ended up with a completely new style of port.  BLACK steps away from the traditional, stodgy categories of port – it has bright aromatics, tremendous freshness, and we like to say it is so balanced that it drinks more like a wine.  It’s a port made from top fruit that is aged for a few years in large barrels, which softens it, and is then released.

We love everything about port: the tremendous depth of flavors, history and culture, the fact vines grow on sheer schist and little else, and that the Douro Valley completely captures your heart – it is as wild and beautiful an area as any in the world, and happens to be the home to a unique and extraordinary wine.  We’re working hard to convey our enthusiasm.  Together with Noval, we designed a beautiful, modern yet timeless bottle for BLACK that gives a little bit of the sense of how different this port is than anything else made in the Douro Valley or elsewhere.  Wine & Spirits Magazine recently wrote in reviewing Noval BLACK:

“Christian Seely recently introduced this wine in New York as a rethinking of the super-premium, multivintage Porto style. Black replaces LB, Noval’s former entry in this range, and uses top-quality fruit to create a soft, accommodating texture. The aromas are purple-black while the flavors are pure black cherry. Acidity spices it up and adds to the juiciness of the finish. It’s plump in the middle and supple all the way through, ending on fruit-skin tannin and a touch of chocolate from oak. At the level of many of the region’s best LBVs, this wine may become a staple for a new generation of Port drinkers. 91 Wine & Spirits Magazine

There’s not much more we can say than that, except perhaps that our owner Michael Quinttus, who over his career in the wine business has brought to the US a few wineries you may have heard of (Ornellaia and Cloudy Bay, to name two) believes based on the response we’ve had since our March introduction, Noval BLACK is the single most successful wine introduction he’s ever seen.  BLACK is hitting a nerve, and it’s thrilling for our little fine wine importing company to witness.  Certainly a great source of pride.  Oh, and did I mention BLACK is typically below $15/bottle wholesale?

Finally, this message coincides with the launch of Noval BLACK’s website, here:   You’ll see that we’ve been busy coming up with some great ideas for enjoying BLACK.  Given its profile, it has proven versatile in ways we would never have thought.  You’ll find, for example, some incredible cocktail recipes by New York City’s Jim Meehan on the site (I was bowled over by these, they’re delicious).  Take a look at the site, and you can also find a sneak peak video here: