Touriga Franca is a black grape from Portugal, where it is a highly-appreciated variety mostly in various blends.
For the wine farmer, Touriga Franca is a nice variety. It is fairly easy to grow, it has quite a bit of tolerance for different climates, and it gives good yields. Flavours are light, red berries, flowery, sometimes also with a touch of dark skinned berries as well. The wines tend to be of a fairly light body.
Traditionally, Touriga Franca will not produce high quality varietal wines, but as a table wine it is more than sufficient. As is common in Portugal, it is however more often blended with Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (e.g. Tempranillo) than presented as a dry varietal wine. This blend is also one of the most common one’s when it is used for producing Port wine.
You will have to go to Douro to find a dry varietal Touriga Franca, and it might take you some time to actually find one. They do exist but are quite difficult to come by. A dry Touriga Franca, blended with Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, and/or maybe another indigenous variety, is a lot easier to find. The best expressions you’re likely to find in Douro, although they can vary quite a lot in style and quality.
A dry Touriga Franca blend – as
described above – will be a nice pairing with a pork or lamb dish. The
wine is best served at 15°C/59°F – 17°C/63°F.
Where is it grown?
Touriga Franca is Portugal’s second most planted variety. It is reported to be planted on
11.582 ha/28,621 ac (an increase of 74% in ten years). In spite of being number 2 in the MPG ranking, its PTPA is only 7%, meaning that there are several varieties (e.g. not only a few) which are commercially important in Portugal. Most plantings are in Douro in north-eastern Portugal.
Outside of Portugal there are reports of plantings from three countries, Romania, South Africa and Argentina. As they however share as little as 8 ha/19 ac between them, plantings are of experimental size.
Touriga Franca is recognised as being from north-eastern Portugal, most likely from the Douro wine region. It has been shown that it is a cross between Portugal’s national variety Touriga Nacional and Marufo.