Your Wine IQ

Touriga Nacional

International Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon   Merlot   Pinot Noir   Syrah

Major Varieties: Cabernet Franc    Grenache    Malbec    Nebbiolo    Sangiovese    Tempranillo    Zinfandel

Regional Varieties:   Baga    Barbera    Blaufränkisch    Brachetto    Carignan    Carménère    Cinsaut    Dolcetto    Gamay    Graciano    Lagrein    Malvasia Nera    Marzemino    Montepulciano    Mourvèdre    Nero d'Avola    Petit Verdot    Petite Sirah    Pinot Meunier    Pinotage    Touriga Nacional

Touriga Nacional is a Portuguese grape, considered by many to be the country's finest. The wine is similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, high in structure and tannins, with concentrated flavors of black fruit. The grapes are small and yields are low. Touriga Nacional makes up only a small part of the Portuguese grape harvest, but it makes up a key part of the best Port. Unfortified red wines in the Douro and Dao, however, also use Touriga (it must make up at least 20% of Dao), and the grape is becoming increasingly popular for non-Port usage.

Australian knockoffs of Port have often employed Touriga Nacional, although the climate is a little too warm for the grape to thrive. In America, the grape is more popular. A Texas winery is producing a varietal Touriga on a limited basis.

Due to its finicky nature, this intense grape is often underappreciated. Scientists are working on a clone of the grape which will produce higher yields.