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Quinta do Passadouro Touriga Nacional 2014
Made from 100% Touriga Nacional grapes sourced from 30 year old schist vineyards. After a rigorous selection, the grapes ferment in a granite Lagar with foot trodden and temperature control. The wine was aged for 17 months in 30% new and 70% one year old French oak barrels.
This sprawling property in the heart of the Douro’s Cima Corgo consists of two different vineyards: Quinta do Passadouro and Quinta do Sibio. Both vineyards boast a range of indigenous varieties native to the Douro, including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Sousão and Tinta Barroca.
Due to the steep grade of the slopes where the vineyards are planted and the narrow width of the terraces, all grapes must be picked by hand. Traditional foot-treading in granite lagares is often employed, which yields fine, silky tannins since the process is so gentle on the grapes. The wines are all aged in French barriques.
The home of Port—perhaps the most internationally acclaimed beverage—the Douro region of Portugal is one of the world’s oldest delimited wine regions, established in 1756. The vineyards of the Douro, set on the slopes surrounding the Douro River (known as the Duero in Spain), are incredibly steep, necessitating the use of terracing and thus, manual vineyard management as well as harvesting. The Douro's best sites, rare outcroppings of Cambrian schist, are reserved for vineyards that yield high quality Port.
While more than 100 indigenous varieties are approved for wine production in the Douro, there are five primary grapes that make up most Port and the region's excellent, though less known, red table wines. Touriga Nacional is the finest of these, prized for its deep color, tannins and floral aromatics. Tinta Roriz (Spain's Tempranillo) adds bright acidity and red fruit flavors. Touriga Franca shows great persistence of fruit and Tinta Barroca helps round out the blend with its supple texture. Tinta Cão, a fine but low-yielding variety, is now rarely planted but still highly valued for its ability to produce excellent, complex wines.
White wines, generally crisp, mineral-driven blends of Arinto, Viosinho, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina and an assortment of other rare but local varieties, are produced in small quantities but worth noting.
With hot summers and cool, wet winters, the Duoro has a maritime climate.
Bold, lush, and full of intense dark fruit, Touriga Nacional has gained great popularity for its dry wines and is the noblest variety in the blend that composes Port. 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 hued 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 more than 80 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.