Touriga nacional is the noble grape of Portugal, and this version is a little 'old school meets new school' in style, which makes for some interesting drinking. Dark berries and cherries decorate the nose making it look quite modern, then the 'old school' kicks in with the balsamic and mocha notes, and a bit of earthy spice and dried roses along for the ride. The palate is medium to fuller-bodied, and quite juicy with the earthy spices front and centre, some plumminess at its core, some fine-grained tannins, and a decent fruit and spice finish, with a kick of meatiness in the tail. This is made for barbequed lamb chops!
The Douro Valley has long been home to production of Port wines. For the past couple of decades, however, a movement towards increasingly fine and elegant table wines has been underway. This movement has by now clearly culminated in a successful new industry, pioneered by the Douro Boys: Vallado, Crasto, Meão, Niepoort, Dona Maria.
Each work mainly with ‘field blends’—old, co-planted single vineyards containing a mixture of Douro indigenous varieties: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Cão, Tinta Barroca, Sousão and more. For all, a feature is retaining the smoky mineral tang of the Douro terroir’s schist soils.
Over the past decade Cristiano van Zeller has assisted Vallado modernise and shift from grower to A-grade estate producer.
Unblended Touriga Nacional is very rarely anywhere near this good. Violet, meat, earth/spice/spearmint and
Douro slate-iness. Great juiciness, and unusually for straight TN, has sideways texture and fine linear tannin.
Very concentrated, with balsamic oak notes, red fruit and violet aromas. Sweet, round and matured and silky tannins, very balanced, with a long fresh finish.