It has been a little while since I tasted the 2011 Nacional Vintage Port. Maybe like the 2011 Noval, perhaps I was expecting a bit more. It just misses a bit of sparkle and precision on the nose compared to more recent vintages. The palate is where it’s at: wonderful viscous entry, layers of cassis and black plum fruit, blood orange and allspice. Hedonistic and ravishing, it explodes on the finish, yet the aromatics must be going through an adolescent phase. I stand by my view that this is a formidable Nacional that just requires time. Tasted at the Quinta do Noval tasting at Spring restaurant in London.
Anticipated maturity: 2030-2080
Robert Parker 100
The 2011 Vintage Port “Nacional” is a field blend aged for 18 months in wood before release. It comes in with 94.6 grams per liter of residual sugar and, if anything, tastes drier. This is a monumental Nacional that justifies its cult reputation. Still showing rather primary, young fruit, it is laced with herbs and a hint of resin. It is just plain delicious, even while showing some austerity. Fresh, clean and lively, its tension on the finish serves it in good stead, enlivening the wine along the way. The balance is perfect. Elegant but still very concentrated, more than the 2004 also reviewed, it expands in the glass as it airs out, coats the palate nicely and then becomes ever more intense. If the first tastes were all about the fruit, this wound up being about its backbone and firmness, what I typically expect. The tannins are not searing, in a sense–they are hard, not harsh–but make no mistake: it shuts down with a bang and does a fine job of seizing the tongue. It’s built for the long haul, of course. Some five days later, it had not changed a lot, but the fruit was fighting back a little harder. After another five days, the fruit became pretty darned delicious. It will eventually win, but you need patience for this Port to come into balance–and show complexity, equally important. Even after ten days open, it still tightened on the finish and showed pure power. It’s a beauty.
Anticipated maturity: 2045-2080