Portugal's wines have really improved over the last ten years or so; forget those astringent, highly tannic wines of the past and welcome, particularly in this example, to a smooth velvety, fruity rich wine. Touriga Nacional, also seen in port, is a tannic grape and the tannins are evident in the dry finish of this wine however they will soften further over time.
A ruby red colour, this has developed from what was in 2014 still a fairly youthful wine to a super-smooth, elegant wine. Cherries and eucalyptus on the nose. Understandably this is reminiscent of port on the palate with rich, complex flavours including red cherries, berries, plums, herbs and sweet spices. The 2009 vintage was described by the Wine Spectator magazine as having a "finish of chocolate mousse and cafe au lait", which the 2011 vintage has to a lesser degree. The finish is long and velvety smooth.
I was torn between categorising this wine as a Rich Spicy Red or a Smooth Elegant Red as it displays such rich fruit, spicy flavours and has such a velvety mouthfeel. It is worth decanting and letting this wine breathe for an hour or so before serving
; read more about decanting in my blog
. This is drinking beautifully
now and will improve in the bottle for a couple more years yet given the acidity and tannins which will soften further; if you can resist it and like a richer, more developed style, keep till 2019 or 2020.
Recommended with red meat dishes - beef, duck, lamb
"On the nose, notes of wild basil and hints of eucalyptus. Rich and velvety on the palate, showing all its complexity as it opens up, finishing long with good acidity."
89 points Wine Spectator 2014
"A lithe red, with a fruity aroma and bright and juicy flavors of plum tart, dried berry and forest floor. The crisp finish features sandalwood and cedar notes. "
89 points Robert Parker Aug 2014
"The 2011 Touriga Nacional (Churchill Estates) is sourced from Quinta da Gricha and aged for 12 months in second and third-use French oak. This is a restrained and rather subtle Touriga that expands in the glass and seems better and better with air. Crisp and charming, it has little in the way of power, intensity or concentration, but that lifted fruit, the graceful demeanor and the fine aromatics should make it a pleasure to drink. The tannins are well-integrated. It should be approachable young, but at its best in the mid-term. Drink now-2023."