The first thing that you need to know about the recently-awarded Top 10 Touriga Nacional wines from Portugal is that there area actually 12 of them.
Such is the strangeness of Portuguese wine politics that a contest selecting the top ten single-varietal bottlings of Touriga Nacional – the grape on which Portugal’s red table wine future seems to be staked (according to the focus attended to it at the 2010 Wines of Portugal International Conference in Porto) couldn’t actually stick to the rules of its namesake.
The Top 10 TNs were winnowed down from a list of thirty TN bottlings selected by ViniPortugal (the group who organized the conference and who are charged with promoting Portuguese wines internationally, who got the list down from 80 submitted samples) through a panel of tasters that included MWs Jancis Robinson, Doug Frost and Mary Ewing-Mulligan (among others). The 12 winners of the 10 were then presented at a gala dinner event at the stunning Palácio da Bolsa in Porto, following Day One of the conference.
While the dinner and surroundings at the Palácio da Bolsa were both stunning, I wouldn’t use the same word to describe the vast majority of the Touriga Nacional wines that I tasted…