Exploring Touriga Nacional Wine
Touriga Nacional (“tor-ee-gah nah-see-un-nall”) is a full-bodied red wine from Portugal with aging potential like Cabernet Sauvignon. This unsung grape variety is most common as a blending grape in Port wine and has only recently been championed as a dry red wine. For those who love bold red wines, Touriga Nacional offers profound depth of flavor at an obscenely good value.
Guide to Touriga Nacional Wine
Bold and lush, Touriga Nacional is for people who go for full-bodied red wines from warm climates. For example, dry wines made with Touriga Nacional have been likened to the infamous Napa Cabernet and opulent Barossa Shiraz. The one trait that Touriga Nacional really sizes up is its bold tannin, a trait that softens with aging.
When you taste this wine, expect palate-coating and tooth-staining richness of blueberry, plum, blackberry, bittersweet cocoa and often a subtle stimulating flavor of mint and violet. The texture of the wine is balanced (when it’s well-made) and when you brush your tongue to the roof of your mouth, you’ll notice fine gravelly tannins. When made into a dry wine, Touriga Nacional is resilient to oak aging and takes it very well, offering up aromas of toasted marshmallow, vanilla and nutmeg. It’s not uncommon to find Touriga Nacional blended with other grapes (like Touriga Franca and Tempranillo) which can help balance the boldness of the wine with cinnamon spice and red-fruit flavors.
Expect to Spend
- $10–$12 for a great quality Portuguese red wine blend made in part with Touriga Nacional
- $36–$50 for a serious single-varietal Touriga Nacional wine from the Douro or Dão regions of Portugal
Food Pairing with Touriga Nacional
Touriga Nacional, in its boldness, stands quite well on its own as a cocktail wine, however there are certain foods that will calm its bold tannins and bring out its lushness. Go for rich fatty foods that can absorb the tannin but keep the spicing simple (and not too salty) in order to not overwhelm the floral aromas of mint, bergamot and violet. One way to do this might be to soften the flavors of a main with a cream-driven side dish like a yoghurt sauce.