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Aveleda Follies Touriga Nacional 2007
Today the Guedes family still owns 100% of the company, always committed to maintaining this family legacy which spans several generations. The son of Manuel Pedro Guedes, Fernando Guedes da Silva da Fonseca (1871-1946) continued his father’s work, significantly increasing the production capacity at the Estate. He had 7 children and it was Roberto Van-Zeller Guedes (1899-1966) who led the family business, dedicating his whole life to working at Aveleda. The 4th generation includes the six children of Roberto Van-Zeller Guedes: Fernando, Luís, António, Maria Isabel, Maria Helena and Roberto – who today manage the company’s future, together with the following generation: 14 cousins who make up the 5th generation.
Best known for flavorful fortified wines but also producing excellent dry wines, Portugal is unique in that it relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to the west on the Iberian Peninsula, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, perhaps due in part to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. Portugal is a long and narrow country, which makes for considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast. With the exception of Port, most Portuguese wines have struggled to garner attention in the international marketplace, perhaps due to the unfamiliar and difficult to pronounce nature of most of its grape varieties and terminology, which means that there are many excellent values to be discovered here by the adventurous consumer. The country is perhaps better known for being the world’s leader in cork production than for its wine.
Port, made in the Douro Valley, is the fortified wine for which Portugal is most famous. The same region also produces full-bodied dry wines made from the same set of grape varieties, which include Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo). The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast. Other dry wines of the mainland include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde of the north, the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão, and the bold, jammy reds of the Alentejo.
Bold, lush, and full of intense dark fruit, Touriga Nacional has gained great popularity for its dry wines but actually is the noblest variety in the blend that composes Port wine. The grape most likely orginated from the Dão region and also grows throughout the Douro Valley, both great Portuguese wine producing regions.
In the Glass
Touriga Nacional produces a deeply purple-dominated red wine with concentrated flavors of blackberry, plum, black cherry and cocoa powder. Aromas vary from sweet violets, mint, and often vanilla and baking spice (depending on its oak aging). In texture it has fine tannins and if you’re a Cabernet drinker, this would make an excellent new wine to try.
Barbecue, Beef Tenderloin, Shepherd’s Pie, grilled sausages and any blue cheese will work well with a Touriga Nacional.
For Port wine, there are 52 approved grape varieties that can go into the blend. Each grape has something unique to contribute to make an overall harmonious end product. Likewise in its dry wine form, you will often find Touriga Nacional blended with some of the other best Portugese grapes like Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz (synonym for Tempranillo), Tinta Barroca and Tinta Cão.