Touriga Nacional

Red grapeIf you have ever tasted the fortified wine port then you have already tried this grape. Although a myriad of grapes can be used in port wines this is the principal and arguably most admired one. Touriga is an enticing grape with gorgeous fruity floral perfume and delivers intense and varied flavours from strawberry, to licquorice, mountain herbs and smoky minerality. The particular climate and soils of the Douro valley help it to produce a wine packed with flavour but still with great freshness. It is quite a tannic grape so can be one that needs a little age in oak to soften out and come into its own.

If you can’t find a wine based on Touriga alone then I’d really recommend seeking it out as a Douro red blend. That is the typical style from the port region where it is blended with lots of other native varieties like Tinta Roriz or Touriga Franca. The art of blending means those other grapes can fill the gaps or soften out parts of the wine to create something of greater balance.

The Facts

An extremely low yielding variety, sometimes half of other grapes. Multi clonal with the best producing tiny red grapes with great intensity and high tannin. By regulation it has to be at least 20% of a Douro blend.

Alternatives

Tempranillo (Tinta Roriz), Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Carignan, Petit Sirah

Classic Regions

Portugal: Douro, Dao, Alentejo, Lisboa

Australia: McLaren Vale, Barossa

USA: Lodi, San Joaquin Valley

Other: South Africa, Argentina

 

Food Matches

Peppered steak, lamb cutlets, meat stews, grilled peppers, goats cheese tart or salad