Probably originating in the village of Tourigo, near Tondela in the Dão region, Touriga Nacional is one of the noblest Portuguese red grape varieties. And, without a doubt, the best known and most exported.
But what makes Touriga Nacional so special? Discover its features and curiosities below in our article.
Touriga Nacional Features
The caste is characterized by its aromatic power, with aromas of bergamot, rosemary, floral, rose and violet – which generally provides rich colours to its wines.
It results in full-bodied wines, with a concentration of intense aromas of high complexity, with noble tannins and susceptible to aging.
The production of wines with this caste requires a certain level of experience and care, otherwise the result will be very closed and austere wines.
Perhaps for this reason, the variety is presented mostly in batch/blend.
Touriga Nacional Curiosities
In the past, it was almost the only red variety in the Dão Region, and came close to disappearing from the region. However, during the century XX, with the help of determinated producers was reinstalled.
At that time, in the Douro Region, it acquired primary importance in blended reds, being in most cases the dominant variety. In the Douro Superior, excellent single varietals are also made – either in the batch of Vintages & LBV’s Ports where the Caste adds color and aging capacity to the wines.
Currently, Touriga Nacional has spread across the country, particularly in Alentejo where it has adapted very well and has produced great wines since. Not only successful in Portugal, the Caste jumped borders and traveled to Spain, being found especially in the Priorat region.
It is studied in Bordeaux as a possible variety to better adapt to climate change. It is also well known in Australia and California where it has a vast planted area.
Although this variety has all the characteristics to be perfect, it also has a small problem.
As it is susceptible to complications during the development of the plant, which affects the growth of the bunch, its yields are limited.
This limitation means that many grape producers in the Douro Region do not particularly like the Caste and prefer other varieties with better/easier production levels because it becomes more profitable, since they sell the grapes in bulk to large producing houses.
In summary, Touriga Nacional is a great variety in the national portfolio, perhaps the best, and is synonymous of quality.
The best national wines, from Trás-os-Montes to the Algarve, are rarely made without this variety.
Discover them here!