Sunday, September 07, 2014

Touriga Nacional

Touriga Nacionnal is a Portugese red grape variety (cultivar) of the species Vitis vinifera (European grape vine).
It is traditionally used in blends for Port.
But more and more it is finding a niche as a red table wine grape in the Douro and Dão in Portugal.
The grape berries are very small and therefore have a high skin to pulp ratio which heightens the amount of extract in the wines.
The grapes can produce intense, very aromatic wines with high tannin content.

My old wine school, Charles Sturt University, produced a table wine from this variety in 2013 which was a break away from the usual fortified wine route ie. a Tawny
Tawny is the name given to Australia's most popular fortified wine style, previously referred to as 'Tawny Port'. Australia agreed to discontinue the use of the term 'Port' in line with international labeling agreements, with 'Port' now used exclusively by the Portuguese.
During the Touriga production at CSU the crusher broke down, and with no spare parts being available on the long Easter break, the grapes were processed in the old fashioned way 'by foot'.
After fermentation the wine spent 6 months storage in old French hogsheads.
The bottle back label says "This is not a shrinking violet"
Other comments in the wine notes included "bolshy in its birth, it has become a bit of a beast, needing some serious food to keep it under control.........making it is exciting, because it takes a lot to persuade it to behave. We know it can be good, it just doesn't want to!"
How right they were!
14.9% alcohol (you don't often get much higher than this with a table wine), intense black fruits flavour and lots of tannin.
A really big wine that was well matched with our grilled steak one night followed up by slow roasted lamb shanks the next.
For us it was an interesting wine but the high alcohol tended to dominate. Between that and the tannin the fruit was a minor component. However it is always good to try something new occasionally but this one won't be on our repurchase list.
The wine is sold under their Letter Series label and is called PTO.
Why PTO? I can't quite work that out.
More information on CSU wines and wine making here.

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