Touriga Nacional: If you’ve heard of it, you’re probably thinking Port production, and you’re not wrong. Indeed, it is the most important red grape of the Duoro Valley where the majority of Port grapes are grown. Interesting fact: Touriga Nacional isn’t just for Port production, but still, non-fortified wines as well. (Read more about the wines of Portugal here and Port production here.) Another interesting fact: You don’t have to go to Portugal to taste Touriga Nacional. Actually, the grape grows in a couple of different California regions—some more successfully than others. In fact, past experience has told me to be wary of the grape when it hails from my home state. But today, we’re speaking about Touriga Nacional from El Dorado County, located in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains—a region I’ve come to know and trust for it’s cool-climate expression of otherwise harsh and rustic grapes. Where Touriga Nacional can become over-ripe and thus cloyingly alcoholic in some of California’s warmer, inland regions, C.G. Di Arie has crafted a wine expressive of the elevated hillsides and loamy soils.
About the Wine: C.G. Di Arie 2013 Touriga Nacional
Comprised of 80% Touriga Nacional, 12.5% Petite Sirah, and 7.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, all grapes were harvested from the C.G. Di Arie estate vineyard located in Shenandoah Valley, California. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months for over three years.
199 cases produced
Appearance: pale ruby
Aroma: Medium (+) intensity showcasing developing aroma characteristics.
Aromas include: boysenberry, marionberry, chocolate, toast/smoke, gamey meat, blackberry jam, black plum jam, forest floor, and violets.
Palate: The wine is dry with medium alcohol level, medium tannins, medium body, and a medium (+) acidity. The flavor profile is pronounced increasing those notes of game meats, toast, and smoke, but also elevating the fruit components, which in the mouth, present much fresher and brighter than expected based on the aromas.
The finish is long.
Conclusion: Based on the WSET criteria, I’ve concluded that this is an outstanding wine that can age further: The tannin structure, though soft and subtle on the palate, is strong enough to maintain a solid backbone as the wine ages. The acidity is there to keep those fresher fruitier notes alive, while they mature into their more jammy state as they age. And while the toast/smoke/gamey notes linger in the backbreath, I can certainly see that coming more forward along with those forest floor and deep violet notes—those florals which will undoubtedly transform into a potpourri.
Food Pairing: I paired the C.G. Di Arie 2013 Touriga Nacional with a slow roasted lamb shank, which reduced in its own juices along with a mixture of vegetables. The shank was served with an eggplant purée and a simple side salad.
More Info: I received the C.G. Di Arie 2013 Touriga Nacional as a sample. (Cheers!) Price: $35 (now that’s a steal). For more information about C.G. Di Arie, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the C.G. Di Arie website.
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