Quinta de Chocapalha CH Touriga Nacional 2012
Pair with slow roasted brisket or braised lamb shanks.
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Originally acquired in the 1980’s, the 110 acres of nearly abandoned vineyards discovered on the estate dated back to the 16th century; the family immediately embarked on an investment program to replant and regraft the vines with the thriving varietals of the area, both indigenous and international. In 2000, the new plantings had reached optimal maturity when Sandra Tavares, the youngest daughter made her first debut as a winemaker, passionate and eager to produce wine with only the best grapes found on the estate.
Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, due to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. A long and narrow but small country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.
While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white wines of various styles.
The Douro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.
Other dry wines include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine, made in the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the southern, Alentejo.
The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.
Gaining great popularity for its bold but beautifully aromatic dry red wines, Touriga Nacional is the noblest variety in Port wine. Most likely originating from the Dão region, today it grows throughout the Douro Valley as well. Somm Secret—As many as 80 grape varieties can be used to make Port wine, each contributing something unique to the resulting blend. Touriga Nacional adds great color, tannins and aromatics.