E. Robert Parker

by Mark Squires

Date: June 2016
Wine: RESERVA RED | DOURO | 2013
Rate: 94 points
The 2013 Reserva is an equal blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Roriz and Tinto
Cão, aged for 20 months in a 50/50 mixture of new and used French oak. Showing fine depth and
structure, this hangs in there well with everything this year, a reasonable competitor to some of
the winery's even pricier upper levels. (Not that this is cheap...) Nicely structured and
concentrated, its only problem now is a bit too much oak showing. That should improve with a little
more cellaring.It looks like the best Reserva ever from Quinta Nova.

Date: December 2010
Wine: RESERVA RED | DOURO | 2007
Rate: 92 points
The 2007 RESERVA consists of Touriga Nacional (20%, from the best parcels, the winery says), Tinto Amarela (30%), Tinta Roriz (30%) and Touriga Franca (20%), aged in new and used oak for 17 months. Another beauty in this lineup, it is crisp and sunny, with lovely and persistent fruit flavor on the finish, plus fine structure. If you want to know what you get by trading up from the regular tinto -better structure, longer finish, age worthiness. This should age extremely well and become more complex with age. Drink 2012-2027.

Date: June 2016
Rate: 95 points
The 2013 Grande Reserva Referência is the winery's Tinta Roriz-dominated blend, with a 25%
old-vines blend added to the Tinta Roriz. Year-in, year-out, this has become one of the winery's
fine performers. It is always the biggest and most powerful, the one with the most obvious
concentration and big power. This vintage seems like a pretty fine one for this label, but its calling
cards are going to be its exceptional balance and approachability this year, rather than its burly
demeanor. A little air makes its very elegant this year. Very accessible, yet with fine structure and
some tannic pop, this is a little too oak-laced just now, but it will improve. I kept this open a couple
of extra hours. I was startled at how fine it became after its slightly understated beginning. This is
not as obvious as in some years, but it delivers the goods. Some might prefer this understatement
more. Overall, it is very fine and it should drink beautifully over the next decade, at the least.

Date: December 2013
Rate: 95 points
The 2011 Referencia Grande Reserva is a blend of 80% old vines field blend (80+ years) and 20% Tinta Roriz, aged in a mixture of new French oak (85%) and used Hungarian oak (15%). It comes in at 14.5% alcohol. What do you get by trading up from the regular Reserva? More depth, more lavish oak in its early years for sure, a lot more pure power and a lot more concentration. This manages to remain well balanced and show fine precision and freshness, despite all the stuff going on here. It is probably the most full-bodied of the three Grande Reservas, with the strongest flavors. On Day 1, I liked the more aromatic Classico best. On Day 2, I leaned to this. The oak should integrate easily and nicely in time, but this is a wine to buy only if you have a cellar. It is far too tight and unevolved to warrant even thinking about drinking it for another 4-5 years – which is not to say that it will definitely be at peak then. If some hints of rusticity bother you, this and the others are not for you. It should all work out in time, and I am leaning up. By a very small margin, it was my favorite of the Grande Reserva trio reviewed this issue if I had to pick one today (although I suspect the Mirabilis gets the nod in the long run). This has some potential for brilliance. Drink 2016-2033.

Guide to the Best of 2013
Maybe this wasn’t the best Portuguese red I had in 2013, but it is worth a respectful mention because it is so impressive watching this relatively new operation burst onto the scene with high quality production.

Date: December 2013
Rate: 94 points
The 2011 Grande Reserva Classico is a 50-50 blend of an old vines field blend (80+ years) and Touriga Nacional, aged in 90% new French oak for 17 months. It comes in at 14.5% alcohol. Similar in structural style to the Referencia, its sibling also reviewed this issue, this, however, shows more exotically with fine floral nuances. It is the most aromatic of the three Grande Reservas reviewed this issue and the most sensual, although not quite as deep. Tight on the finish, it is another Grande Reserva from this winery and this vintage that cries out for some patience and some cellaring. As with its siblings, opening it some four hours earlier and playing with it for sometime thereafter did not fully answer all questions. It was still powerful and fragrant the next day, showing rather better. It has the potential to be a beauty and may equal or exceed the others this issue, but with the structure obscuring some of its calling cards at the moment, let’s be a bit conservative and see how it develops in a couple of years. Drink 2016-2031.

Date: June 2016
Rate: 94 points
The 2014 Branco Grande Reserva Mirabilis is an old-vines field blend (50+ years). It comes in at
13.8% alcohol. It was aged for nine months in 300-liter French barrels (60% new; 30% used) and
new 300-liter Hungarian barrels for the remaining 10% of the juice. This has been seen before as
a barrel sample. This is the first look in bottle. Like most 2014s, it has a very elegant and slightly
understated demeanor, but this has evolved beautifully, showing off its fine focus, intensity on the
finish and purity of fruit. It handles the oak well. It often projects a Burgundian feel. While it always
seems graceful, it also is always persistent on the finish and you can revel in its freshness and
transparency. It does need to pull in a bit more wood, but it has improved so much since I saw it
before bottling that I have no doubt it will. It has already done a fair bit of that.

Date: December 2014
Rate: 93 points
The 2013 Branco Grande Reserve Mirabilis is revisited this issue for a checkup. It has simply blossomed with a couple of more months in the bottle since it got to the USA, and I suspect the first bottle was simply showing a bit off. An old vines (65+ years) blend, it was aged in new French oak barriques for eight months. The best parts here, now that it has settled down, is how its relatively firm core of acidity cuts through the oak. The wine seems vibrant and more energetic. It handled the oak pretty well the first time around, but it did not seem nearly as lively, focused and intense. Overall, this rather concentrated and nicely structured Branco is beautiful, probably the best white yet from Quinta Nova. It kept improving for as long as I had it open.
Date: December 2013
Rate: 92 points
The 2011 Branco Mirabilis Grande Reserva white is 10% Viosinho, 20% Gouveio and 70% old vines field blend (80+ years), aged in a mixture of new (25%) and used oak (French and Hungarian). This is a beauty that handles its oak well, showing both finesse and focus. Lingering on the finish, it seems fresh and lively, a wine with solid mid-palate concentration and a feeling of age worthiness. It manages to be awfully tasty, too. Quinta Nova keeps coming up with pricey brands, but you have to admit that they deliver the goods. This seems like their best white yet. Drink now-2020.

Date: December 2014
Rate: 95 points
The 2011 Grande Reserva Mirabilis is revisited this issue for a checkup. A blend of 10% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinto Cao, 10% Tinta Amarela, 35% old vines and 35% barrel selection field blend, all aged in a mixture of new and used French oak, it comes in at 14.6% alcohol. It is showing quite magnificently. Take the graceful demeanor of the 2012 Grande Reserva (also reviewed this issue), but add notably more intensity, focus and some concentration and this is what you get. Tightly wound still, it has nonetheless become surprisingly approachable, more expressive and rather delicious as well. It handles all this with impeccable gracefulness. It never seems particularly heavy or jammy, but it is always persistent and pointed, the delicious fruit flavor laced into the palate with a bang. The next day it seems even more brilliant, more expressive, fleshier, still persistent and lingering. It's even better then, on Day 2, some 2 hours later. This still has some questions to answer in the cellar – namely, whether it develops even more complexity – but this remarkable debut for this brand is already a rather brilliant one, no matter what the future holds. It is approachable and very enjoyable now, but I suspect it will be closer to peak around 2018-2020.

Date: December 2013
Rate: 95 points
The 2011 Mirabilis Grande Reserva red is a new brand, a small production blend of 10% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinto Cao, 10% Tinta Amarela, 35% old vines and 35% barrel selection field blend, all aged in a mixture of new and used French oak. It comes in at 14.6% alcohol. It is hard to say what to admire more about this winery – the wine quality or the marketing genius. There are plenty of both. This Mirabilis red, like its white counterpart, comes in an oldfashioned, attention-getting squat bottle. It will be hard to store, but it certainly won’t be ignored. All the marketing would be in vain, of course, if the wine didn’t meet the challenge. It does, showing precision, structure, concentration and fine focus. Of the three Grande Reservas here, this shows the most finesse, perhaps, projecting a silkier feel early on, with a more Burgundian midpalate, relatively speaking. There are earthy notes around the edges that give it both complexity and character. Like all of them, it is tight, powerful, a bit astringent and unevolved at the moment. It requires some cellaring and patience. It was brilliant – and still hard edged – on Day 2. This, like the others, has the potential for significant improvement in the cellar and it will require a little patience. In a certain sense, this stands out the least of the three. It is the least obvious early on. However, its focus and concentration make me suspect that it will be the tortoise overtaking the hares in the long run. It may yet be entitled to an uptick after it has five or six years of age on it. It was the one here that I feared I was underrating. Drink 2016-2033.


This pricey lineup offers small production (the Grande Reservas run from 2500 to just under 3000L each in total production) and high quality products made from very old vines for the most part. The price points will no doubt be a major deterrent for many, especially those familiar with Portugal as a bastion of good values.
If you can bear the freight, they are very much worth a look, though, as it is quite a collection – if you have a cellar. I kept going back and forth as to which of the Grande Reserva reds I liked best. Stylistically different, but all brilliantly made, at various times they all pulled into the lead and then were overtaken in turn as they evolved, changed and unfolded with time. It’s an awfully nice group, and it represents the winery’s finest vintage yet.
Note that I listed the reds as approachable in the next couple of years in theory – if you decant them and if you like things young – but realistically, they do show a considerable amount of astringency in their youth and a couple more years in the cellar beyond that wouldn’t hurt. All of them have the potential for improvement.
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