♦ 2012 Touriga ♦

Touriga Nacional (64%) – Touriga Franca (36%)
Vineyard: Pierce Ranch
Appellation: San Antonio Valley (Southwestern Monterey County)
Alcohol: 12.5%
Production: 164 cases


“Touriga” is a name we are more or less forced to use for what is actually two very distinct varietals, Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca. This is an unfortunate situation governed by the federal authorities who approve labels for commercial wine in the U.S. They don’t recognize these two clearly separate varieties and will only allow the name “Touriga” on the label. It would be as if they only allowed the term “Cabernet” for any wine made from either Cabernet Franc or Cabernet Sauvignon – it’s a direct analogy.

Government meddling aside, we feel that this wine, more than any other in the Quinta Cruz brand, shows off why it is that we focus on these almost forgotten native varieties of Portugal. You will find all kinds of aromas and flavors that you probably have never experienced in a wine before. We find rather striking aromas of berry pie in the oven – all the way down to the warm, fresh bread dough character, the warm butter and the hot, juicy berries. There are many subtle floral elements lurking in this wine too, including rose petals, violets and lavender, along with other, hard to pin down complex perfume and spice aromas. And then there is a layer of aromas and flavors that hint at cocoa, coffee, and fragrant damp earth after a rain. The wine is an aromatic chameleon, changing every single time you stick you nose into the glass!

Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca are grape varieties traditionally used in making Port, where they provide great depth of fruit and a good deal of structure as well. As a dry table wine this blend of the Tourigas is hearty enough to stand up to strongly flavored foods and seems to work particularly well with red sauces, from mild to spicy.