Tinta Barroca is a black grape from Portugal.
It is a high yielding variety and is, as such, often used for producing volume rather than quality. It is also characterised by its naturally high sugar levels. These are two good reasons for why Tinta Barroca in Portugal is used either for blending or for producing Port. The variety will however produce better quality grapes if planted in a somewhat cooler place.
This is exactly what has been done in South Africa’s Western Cape. These wines will be characterised by medium to medium high acidity, medium low on tannins, and not too much of body. Aromas and flavours are plums, dark cherries, boysenberries, but also chocolate, and often with vanilla from oak maturation making itself noticed as well.
In Portugal you will find Tinta Barroca only in blends, either as dry wine or as Port. In South Africa, you will find dry varietals as well as a kind of port wine, called Cape Port. The latter can, similar to the Portuguese Port, be blended with a wide variety of grapes, green; Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Verdehlo), as well as black; Touriga Nacional, Pinotage, to mention a few.
A Western Cape dry varietal is a wonderful pairing with a steak. The wine is best served at 16°C/61°F – 18°C/64°F.
Where is it grown?
Tinta Barroca is Portugal’s eight most planted variety. The planted area is 5.939 ha/14,676 ac, corresponding to an increase of 5% in ten years. Almost all of the plantings are found in the northern Douro region.
Plantings outside of Portugal are few. You find some in South Africa (231 ha/572 ac, a decrease with 41%). In Chile and Brazil plantings are of experimental size.
Tinta Barroca is thought to have originated in the area where it now has its heartland, e.g. the Douro river.