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
Bright medium ruby. Knockout aromas of black fruits, pungent minerality, licorice, violet, black pepper and sexy nutty oak quickly shut down in the glass. Wonderfully sweet, layered and perfumed, with an alluring element of exotic flowers but also a spine of steel underneath. The authoritative, palate-staining finish displays outstanding energy, with the tannins really clamping down on the wine’s intense fruit today. This great wine will need at least 15 years of cellaring before it approaches peak drinkability and should go on for at least a few decades beyond that.