Up until recently we have ignored Portugal as a wine-producing country here in Woodberrys, like most people we paid lip service to this great wine-producing nation by stocking a few wines from Portugal but our main concentration was on Port, the fortified wine they produce that is the epitomey of that particular style. but with the explosion of interest in recent years in Spanish wines people started to ask about quality table wines from their Iberian neighbour, we looked into it and found some great wineries.
But Portugal like Italy likes to use its many many own indigenous grape varieties including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca. Another grape they use plenty of is Tinta Roriz which is called Aragonez in the south of Portugal and Tmepranillo in Spain. Of the Portuguese varieties named Touriga Nacional is the most important not only for Port but for high quality reds. Touriga Nacional is a relatively tiny blue-black grape produced in very small quantities by vines that have a tendency toward rampant growth if not regularly pruned. Because the yield is smaller than that of any other commercial grape variety, and because the vines are so unruly, some wine makers steer clear of Touriga Nacional, but as I said already it is used in the best Ports and reds Portugal has to offer.
It’s important to understand that, where this grape is concerned, quality, not quantity, is of the essence. Touriga Nacional plays an important part in any blend, however, as it lends structure, body, texture, and warmth. It is full of strong tannins and bright acidity, two factors that help to increase the longevity of wine, and add to its complexity over time. Despite the grape’s tannic quality, Portuguese reds blended with Touriga Nacional tend to be soft on the palate and easy to drink.