Touriga Nacional is a black grape from Portugal, one of few Portuguese varieties that is grown also outside its home country.
It is no wonder why Touriga Nacional often is seen as Portugal’s “national grape”. It has the potential of becoming an important player on the international wine scene, given its good levels of tannins and acidity, combined with very nice flavours of dark skinned fruit such as plums, and blueberries. You might also find often with hints of leather, mint and violet.
It will often produce full-bodied and well-structured wines of good ageing potential.
The best dry varietal Touriga Nacional wines you can expect to find in the Dão and Douro regions in Portugal. However, a Swartland/Coastal Region Touriga Nacional wine from South Africa also has the potential of giving you a very nice experience as well. Look for grapes grown on a bit of altitude if possible as too much warmth could imply an overly fruity wine.
This is a wine for the really nice red meat dish. Why not a steak? It can also be a very nice pairing with a hard, salty cheese. The wine is best served at 16°C/61°F – 18°C/64°F.
Where is it grown?
Apart from its “stronghold” in the Douro region, Touriga Nacional is fairly evenly spread among Portugal’s central and northern wine regions. It is the fourth most planted variety with a total acreage of 10.175 ha/25,142 ac (an increase of 145% in ten years). Its PTPA value is 6%, meaning that there are several varieties (e.g. not only a few) which are commercially important in Portugal.
Touriga Nacional is reportedly planted also in South Africa (101 ha/251 ac, showing a rapid growth in ten years), USA, mainly in California (85 ha/210 ac, reported as new plantings in 2010), Australia plantings in several wine regions, however decreasing in acreage, (48 ha/118 ac).
From Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Romania there are reports of new plantings, yet however very small in size.
Touriga Nacional is thought to be an old variety, although its documentation is some mere two-hundred years. It is thought to have originated in the Dão region.