Classic aromas of Touriga Nacional are: Blackberry, Black Plum, Leather, Black Currant and Lavender
Touriga Nacional is a red grape variety from northern Portugal. It is believed to have originated in the Dao region where it was first mentioned in 1822. Though it is best known for its starring role in the best Ports wines of the Douro. Touriga Nacional was crossed with Marufo to make Touriga Franca – the other most important red grape of the Douro.
Up until the end of the 19th century it once made up 100% of the Douro’s vineyard area but thanks to the Phylloxera louse, which wiped out all the vineyards in this region, the Douro was replanted it was planted with more trustworthy, easier to cultivate varieties such as Tempranillo and Touriga Franca, so now it only makes up 5% of the vineyard area total. This being said it is still the most revered variety of the whole valley. Currently there are 1,440ha in Douro and a total of 7,268ha across Portugal – a total that has doubled since 2004. It is now a leading variety in the southern regions of Tejo and Lisboa.
Touriga Nacional has also seen some interest further abroad in California, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. In all of these countries it typically is fortified, like Port, but a few producers are making varietal red wines also.
Touriga Nacional produces wines that are deeply coloured, concentrated with high tannins and acidity. They are rich in dark fruit flavours, of blackcurrants, plums, blackberry jam and mulberries. The best wines have beautiful floral aromas of lavender, violets and thyme, and with age develop flavours of raisins, prunes, coffee and leather. It also has an excellent ageing ability with top examples best after 5-10 years in bottle.