Portugal’s Touriga Nacional

The history of global wines is incomplete without mentioning Portugal’s unquestionable contributions to grape production and vineyard development. However, it is also impossible to think about Portugal without remembering its iconic grape variety known as Touriga Nacional.  This grape variety gained notoriety in Portuguese territory and across the world, primarily for being one of the famous and classic Port Wine varieties from Portugal.

Despite being the main star in the Douro—where the grapes for Port Wine are grown—Touriga Nacional originated in the Dão Demarcated Region. It was the second demarked region of the country in 1908, also known as the Portuguese Burgundy, as a reference to the traditional French locality that produces excellent wines. Currently, this region has more than 20,000 hectares of a planted area composed of several grape wineries.

Portugal's Touriga Nacional

Figure 1. Wine produced from Touriga Nacional in Portugal.

The variety is characteristic of Portugal, which was initially planted in the Dão region and later, it was grown throughout the country. However, we can find suitable labels from Touriga Nacional produced in many other countries, including the United States, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and Brazil.

Touriga Nacional Grape Characteristics

The wines produced from Touriga Nacional usually have considerable alcohol content, a remarkable concentration of color, and high complexity. These wines have an intense flavor and fine tannins, making them excellent options for those who prefer the most striking labels. Moreover, we can notice the aromas of vanilla and spices in wines aged in oak barrels. Some of the key features of Touriga Nacional are given as follows:

  • It grows in different types of soils and climates.
  • Its wines always have memorable characters and undeniable qualities.
  • The wines produced from this grape variety have excellent aging capabilities;
  • Its curls are small and compact. The berries are also small, rounded, and black-blue. Moreover, the production is only 1 to 1.5 kg per strain.
  • They have a characteristic aroma of violet.

Food Pairing with Touriga Nacional

Whether fascinating blends or labels with 100% of their products using the Touriga Nacional grape, the wines of the variety bring complex notes that blend them well with dishes of intense flavors. In a complete dinner, it is possible to combine the wines manufactured from this grape at all stages: from the starter with blue cheeses, for example, to main courses and desserts.

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Here is a list of some typical food items that harmonize nicely with the Touriga Nacional grape:

  • Blue cheeses like Roquefort;
  • Red meat;
  • Dishes that combine meat and fruit, such as lamb with apricots and chicken with orange;
  • Chocolate and desserts with chocolates as a base;
  • Beverages, such as coffee and mocha coffee;
  • Nut-based desserts.

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