Quinta do Noval have recently declared 2012. This was a challenging year and, following on from a universal declaration in 2011, the main shippers have opted for single quinta vintage Ports (SQVPS).
The growing season began virtually without rain with just 16.4mm falling in the first three months of 2012. Then the heavens opened in April and May, just when the crucial flowering and fruit set takes place. As a result yields were set to be low. The first intense heat came over the weekend of São João (24th June), at exactly the same time as in 2011. But July and August were cooler than average leading to even ripening although a hailstorm on 25th July devastated parts of the upper Pinhão valley in a matter of minutes. Picking began relatively late in the Douro Superior but by 20th September the harvest was well under way in the Cima Corgo. Heavy rain began to fall on 23rd bringing much cooler temperatures but inevitably causing some dilution in the wines. Some growers stopped picking and waited until October for fine weather to resume. This gamble paid off as fine, cool weather continued until the end of harvest. With yields as much as 50% below average, 2012 produced some lovely concentrated wines.
Quinta do Noval 2012 **** +?
A somewhat idiosyncratic declaration from Noval, only 1000 cases produced: deep, opaque colour; fabulous on the nose, dense yet fragrant and floral in its first bloom of youth; lovely pure, peppery berry fruit backed by fine-grained tannins, well defined and beautifully focused. 70% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca and 5% Tinto Cão. Drink 2025 - 2050 18 +?
Croft, Quinta da Roeda 2012 ****
Mid-deep youthful colour; suave and opulent on the nose in true Roeda style, restrained with more to give; ripe bitter chocolate intensity on the palate, fresh, super-succulent fruit supported by firm tannins which grip the finish. Fine, upfront wine already showing great poise. Drink 2018 - 2035 17
Fonseca Guimaraens 2012 ****
Deeper in colour and much less showy than the Croft, deep and ripe on the nose, quite sullen with more to give; rich and structured with big, bold tannins and ripe, minty fruit underlying. Massive tannic superstructure almost masks the freshness and flesh of the fruit. Finishes beautifully. 18
Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas 2012 ****
Deep in colour, very nearly opaque; still closed in on itself on the nose, brooding richness and intensity; fine and focused with fine-grained sinewy tannins leading to a tight knit rapier like finish. Seemingly rather lean after the previous wines, this needs time to flesh out and will be very fine in time. It needs ten years in bottle to come round. 17.5
Location: The Barn at the Rookery
19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)
17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)
15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)
13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)
10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)
8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)
Below 8 Faulty