Tasting Quinta do Noval’s single-varietal wines

The Douro has 64 recommended native red grapes, so why plant Petit Verdot and Syrah? Sarah Ahmed investigates Quinta do Noval's latest-release dry wines...

I originally encountered Quinta do Noval’s Touriga Nacional and Syrah in 2009. The house, famous for its vintage Port, had access to Petit Verdot and Syrah expertise – as well as pedigree cuttings – from sister-label Château Pichon Baron in Bordeaux and former sister-label, Domaine Mas Belles Eaux in the Languedoc.

But making single-varietal wines – let alone from French varieties – subverts convention in the Douro Valley, where wines tend to reflect both the Douro’s traditional field-blend vineyards and the rationale behind them – namely, to blend different grapes for balance, complexity and consistency in a challenging hot, dry climate.

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