This intriguing red blend from Portugal is made with Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão grapes. Touriga Franca (or Touriga Francesa) is one of the major grape varieties used to produce port wine. Touriga Franca is lighter and more perfumed than Touriga Nacional, adding finesse to the Port. I’m assuming that’s why it’s used here as well. Tinta Barroca is a Portuguese red wine grape that is grown primarily in the Douro region with some plantings in South Africa where the only single varietal Tinta Barroca wines are produced. Wine-searcher.com tells us when used for single varietal wines, the result is “… intense, super-ripe, and high-alcohol.” In Portugal, it is also a common blending grape in Port wine. Finally, Tinta Cão is a wine grape variety that has been grown primarily in the Douro region since the sixteenth century and is yet another of the 50 approved grape varietals used in the production of Port. According to winegeeks.com, “When grown at higher elevations Tinta Cão can have an intensely floral and spicy aroma with hints of black cherries and Christmas spices ….”
For my own experimentation’s sake, I am going to have to look for the single varietal wines from Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca. Seems Tinto Cão is perhaps only used in blended reds. That may be due in part to it’s typically low crop yields. If you have a favorite Touriga Franca or Tinta Barroca you’d recommend, please drop me a note. For now, I will have to content myself with experiencing these three varietals together.
Winemaker: Tuella by Symington Family Estates
Wine: Douro Vinho Tinto
Varietal: Red Blend
Appellation: Douro, Portugal DOC
Price: $6.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: When I poured this Vinho Tinto into my glass, I got a beaker full of inky purple. The bouquet brought me blackberry, spices, earth, and wood fragrances. The body of this red table wine was light. I would peg it’s acidity at medium and the tannins at the upper end of medium. Alcohol was at 13.5%. On the palate I tasted leather, blackberry, plum, and oak with notes of coffee grounds and pepper. The solid tannins brought a bite of menthol, and it finished off with a repeat of stewed plums and spice. Overall a pretty decent wine experience pulled from the budget selections – especially if you want your red wine to bite back a tad. It had a rustic feel to it, which seems appropriate for a table wine. This is not one to accompany your filet mignon, but it’ll be fine with casual meat dishes or perhaps some hearty cozinha país (country cuisine). Wait, did I say that right? Well, you know what I mean – homestyle cooking not fancy fare.