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.
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.