My Portuguese odyssey, which began as a child in Fall River, MA and rediscovered in the Algarve last June, continued at the 2010 Boston Wine Expo. After a full day of posing as a French wine snob, I attempted to reopen my mind by attending the “Rise of Touriga Nacional” seminar hosted by MW Sandy Block.
My earliest experience of tasting Portuguese wine (barred from the Lancers and Mateus that my parent’s drank in the ’70s) was barrel “sampling” in the basement of my Azorean neighbors’ homes. Not sophisticated enough at the time to judge the bouquet or finish, all I can remember was that since they comprised whatever Vitis Lambrusca was found growing in their New England gardens (trellised for shade and high yield), their wines more closely resembled the typical field blends produced back on the island. After all, it was intended as table wine; to be drunk young and often.
A lot has changed in Portuguese wine production in the past 25 years. Field blends are becoming a thing of lore and wines are being created with their own unique character. And according to Mr. Block, Portugal’s Touriga Nacional is fighting for and deserving of shelf space in the market and in your cellar.
Sandy prepared a sample of ten Touriga Nacional wines from several different regions throughout Portugal to demonstrate their unique and varying character. Each wine was reasonably priced between $15 and $25. Below are the wines that we discussed. Find some great Portuguese cuisine and enjoy.
2005 Pactus, Quinta do Carneiro … closed, tobacco, vanilla, earthy, mineral, high acid, low tannin, medium body with a long finish, Dao-style food wine
2008 Grand’Arte, DFJ Vinhos S.A. … ripe, vanilla, violet, pepper, low tannin, berry fruit, 4-6 months in oak.
2005 Porca da Murca Reserva, Real Companhia Velha … rip berry, slight port notes, chocolate and vanilla, high acid, tannic, warm, intense flavors, more typical, can lay this down.
2007 Prazo de Roriz, Symmington Family Estates … red fruit forward, chocolate, less finesse, tannic/acid balance, anise, green/herbal (from Touriga Franc)
2007 Quinta da Alorna Reserva, Quinta da Alorna … closed, finesse, herbal, acidic, raspberry, spicy pepper, structured, balanced
2006 So Touriga National, Bacalhoa Wines … BBQ, bright red cherry, medium acid/tannin, sandy soil
2007 Touriga, Herdade do Esporao … ripe, slightly sweet (dry), concentrated (Australian wine maker – common in the Alentejo/South), medium tannin/acid, spicy, can put away
2006 Follies Touriga Nacional, Aveleda … herbal (vegetal), floral, smoked meats, high acid, medium tannin, long finish, fresh fruit
2006 Cabriz Reserva, Dao Sul … floral, delicate red fruit, velvety, spice, pepper
2007 CARM Reserva, CARM … chocolate, smoke, licorice, spicy, hot, balanced alcohol
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