We stumbled upon the 2011 Quinta de Lemos Touriga Nacional and its siblings when presented a few weeks ago during an appointment with a new Portugese import source. Foremost, and what excited me most, was the ability to still procure ANY high quality red wine from the benchmark 2011 vintage!! On going projects to prove Portugal was capable of producing world class dry red wines had been ongoing since the late 1990s. You may remember, but in Portugal the “stars finally aligned” in 2011, especially for those dry red wines produced with the help of longtime Bordeaux associates and consultants. Good vintages have followed, but still the 2011 vintage remains pinnacle, and the wines are meeting or surpassing expectations. Do you remember the expensive and top rated 2011 Prats & Symington Quinta do Roriz Chyrseia and 2011 Wine & Soul Pintas? If you like big, full-bodied and very expressive red wines with staying power, then this is for you!!
Quinta de Lemos is a new producer for me, so as I did more research I came across Wine Advocate’s Portugese Editor Mark Squires’ review and 94 point rating (June 2017). I wish I could have sampled this wine when it was younger, but I was not surprised by his assessment of this wine’s potential. This evolution was further validated when Renee and I recently indulged in a bottle that was perfection with her smoked rack of lamb.
The king of Portugese grapes, Touriga Nacional is is an indigenous Portugese variety from the Dao, where it is said to have originated. Portugal’s varietal equivalent to Cabernet Sauvignon, and universally considered of the world’s finest grapes. Not only is it the “workhorse” for vintage Porto, but this “black beauty” provides the structure and tannic backbone for the long term aging of successful dry reds. As a single varietal (unblended), Touriga Nacional is perfect for those who are thrilled by dark, inky, full-bodied, powerful wines with expressively nuanced and complex aromas; blackberry, blueberry, with earthy mineral, floral and rosemary-like garrigue notes. Intensely seductive to say the least!
“The 2011 Touriga Nacional was aged in 30% new French oak for 18 months. It comes in at 14% alcohol. A terrific Touriga, this focused red is precise, elegant and rather powerful just at the moment. It took a long time to get some Touriga aromatics, but they slowly emerged. The tannins are not really hard, but the wine is not yet expressive. Showing structure meant for the long haul, this is nowhere close to peak. It should have many miles to travel. In the meanwhile, you might approach it, but that would be a mistake. It isn’t all it can be now, or anywhere close. Its peak should be more like 2021-2025. Still, the price is so reasonable, you can buy a case and experiment. I suspect this remarkably graceful, yet intense Touriga will turn into something different and better every few years for the next couple of decades. 2018-2036” 94 points, Mark Squires, Wine Advocate (June 2017)