35% Touriga Nacional, 35% Tinta Roriz, 28% Touriga Franca and 2% Tinta Francisca
- I don’t think there’s any argument as to how Portugal made its name in the wine world, but I’d like to go on record and say that I honestly believe the future of Portugal lies not in its Port, but in-fact in its red table wines.
- It will be interesting to see over the coming years how Portugal copes with the Millennials becoming the dominate wine consumer. I say this, as I consider Portugal to be one of the most “old school” out of all the European wine producing countries. If anything, it’s the Portuguese Vinho Verde producers that seem to be stepping-up and getting innovative with their marketing and packaging.
- There are over 100 different grape varieties permitted in Port wines, and what we have here in this blend are just 4 of them (thankfully).
I want to make this as painless as possible, but I think it only right that I give you a very brief overview on each of the grapes in this blend:
– Touriga Nacional is the most respected of all the Portuguese grapes. The berries are small with a high skin to juice ratio, which translates to very tannic and concentrated wines.
– Tinta Roriz is actually just the Portuguese name for Tempranillo (of Spanish-fame). Roriz is the second most planted grape in Portugal.
– Touriga Franca is the most widely planted grape in all of Portugal, mainly due to its reliability for ripening. The grape was formally named Tinta Francesa, which probably created quite a bit of confusion with this next guy…
– Tinta Francisca is often compared to Pinot Noir. The grape yields a little more sweetness and isn’t as concentrated as the grapes the make up the rest of this blend.
Did you get all of that? Great! 4 down, 90+ grapes to go!
- The word “quinta” is a Portuguese word meaning ‘farm’ and may also refer to a wine-producing estate. When applied to Port, a “single-quinta” is a fortified wine made from a single year and from a single wine estate.
- Quinta de Roriz is one of the most respected wine estates in all of Portugal, and has been banging out wine since 1815. It’s claimed that the winery was the first “Quinta Port” to see export. Quinta de Roriz has since been bought out by Symington, the largest landowners in the Douro.
- The Douro region is supposedly named after the Duero river, which divides half of its time flowing through Spain, and the rest of the time in Portugal. Must be nice!
- The Douro received wine region status or “demarcation” (if you want to give it its full name) in 1756. This makes it one of the oldest defined wine regions in the world.
- Around half of the red wine production in the Douro is non-fortified.
- The Douro is currently home to around 93,900 acres (147 sq. miles) of grape vines.
- Even though regular table wines are slowly starting to gain consumer recognition, up until the 1700’s most of the wine exported was fermented dry and shipped without adding any form of spirits to bump up the alcohol.
You can’t help but think about Port when drinking a Portuguese red. The taste of the Prazo de Roriz shares a lot of the same cassis, dark plum and blackberry flavors, with an ever-so lightly oxidized component. Ultra-smooth, but with enough acidity to provide backbone. Dark bitter chocolate and a hint of wet soil. Give it an hour in a decanter, or aerate the arse out of it!
Stands surprisingly firm on its own two feet, but would work wonders with red sauce pasta, venison, duck with a cherry reduction, veal, lamb shank, steak or possibly even a big slab of dark chocolate cake.