Let's bring it back to the basics, please put your hands together, for...
the food + wine pairing cheat sheet you need this winter!
Food and wine matching is a challenge. It's time we help you address this problem. With our Australian Winter bearing down it's time to go beyond Black Angus and Barossa, to gaze into the kaleidoscope of provocative possibilities that exist beyond the status quo.
You've probably enjoyed it's Spanish cousin Tempranillo? How about it's Italian friend Sangiovese? But it's the exotic and warm feeling of the emerging Portuguese red variety Touriga Nacional that make it über food friendly, and a variety to watch in Australia.
From Proscuitto to Pulled Pork to Massaman Curry. Even Smoked Brisket or Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart. Touriga has a smokiness, a savouriness and saltiness. A counterpoint. But don't think it's all one-sided. There's fruit too.
5 fun facts about Touriga Nacional
- Considered to be Portugal’s finest red grape, it's used mostly in the production of Port.
- The berries are very small and produce little juice. On top of that, the yield per vine is tiny. Compared to a variety like Shiraz, where yields can be multiple bottles of wine per vine, growers of Touriga Nacional need to feel comfortable with a minimalist life.
- If you've ever tasted Port it's almost certain you've tasted Touriga Nacional. It's considered to be integral to a fine port, even one that is blended with up to 80 different grapes. They sure put everything into their port in Portugal.
- Touriga Nacional has thick skin, like Cabernet Sauvignon. It's the tannins within those thick skins that give the wine great structure and ageing potential.
- 90 percent of the vineyards in the wine region of Dao were once planted in Touriga Nacional. When winemakers discovered that growing this low yielding grape was the equivalent of getting blood out of a stone, they ripped it out and replaced it with more productive grapes.