Quinta de S. Sebastião fashions a string of exceptional red wines, but none finer than the 2017 S. Sebastião TN Touriga Nacional (91 Points – Wine Enthusiast), which offers a deeply colored, eye-catching robe, a heady draught of blackberry and cherry fruit mingled with deft touches of exotic spices, and a pleasing minerality to delight the nose. Yet, it is in the mouth that this wine truly ramps up its game, offering a generous mouthful of fruit and spice, which come beautifully wrapped in rich, ripe tannins. Balanced, generous, yet superbly structured, the 2017 S. Sebastião TN Touriga Nacional is a polished Portuguese red that is best when given at least 10-15 minutes of aeration before serving at cool room temperature (58-62° F). It can be thoroughly enjoyed now or cellared for several more years. Anticipated maturity: 2021-2025. Enjoy!
S. Sebastião’s 2017 TN Touriga Nacional provides the ideal companion to the rich flavorful dishes of Portugal that the Portuguese and visitors alike love to devour in copious quantities. For starters, Portuguese Bean Soup, a heady concoction of beans, sausage, potatoes, carrots and almost anything else one cares to throw in makes a wonderful one pot dish at the same time it offers great companionship to S. Sebastião’s tasty TN Touriga Nacional. Marinated pork or lamb, soaked in plenty of red wine, onion, garlic, bay leaves and more, also merits two thumbs up as an accompaniment to this flavorful Touriga Nacional. To be sure, when the Portuguese talk about marinating, they really mean marinating. Two or three days is hardly off the charts, but as you like it. If simpler, easier to prepare dishes are more to your liking, consider Beef Sliders with melted Cheddar cheese and red onion or a Mediterranean trio of roasted red pepper hummus, traditional hummus, tzatziki, pita, and cucumber. Vegetable Lasagna works well with this wine, too, but then so will most meats, vegetables, and cheeses. And with S. Sebastião’s 2017 TN Touriga Nacional one need not be afraid that the wine will be overpowered by the food.
The Quinta de S. Sebastião is one of our latest finds and a gem of a winery. It is located in a small town north of Lisbon called Arruda dos Vinhos, in one of the sub-regions of the Vinho Regional Lisboa, with a more than 1,000-year tradition of making wine. Quinta de S. Sebastião itself dates back to 1755, the same year of the great earthquake that destroyed much of Lisbon. It is owned by Portuguese entrepreneur Antonio Parente, who along with winemaker Filipe Sevinate Pinto, has done much to restore S. Sebastião and the surrounding area to its former glory.
S. Sebastião’s vineyards occupy the hills of an old military line of fortification that was known as Forte do Cego and then Forte de S. Sebastião because of the Quinta. These hills played a crucial role in defending Lisbon against Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Portugal. S. Sebastião’s vineyards cover these hills, basking in the region’s unique location and warm sunny climate, protected from the cold north wind and strong Atlantic gales that make Portugal one of the world’s great surfing spots. The Quinta fashions several outstanding red, white, and rosé wines from indigenous and international grape varieties, but none is more emblematic than the 2017 S. Sebastião TN Touriga Nacional (this month’s feature) from Portugal’s most esteemed grape variety.
Portugal is home to more than 200 grape varieties, but none is finer or more important than the indigenous Touriga Nacional. Although Touriga Nacional owns Portugal’s bragging rights, it is only recently getting to fly on its own. More often than not it forms the backbone of Portugal’s greatest red wines, including Port and the finest Douro, Dão, Alentejo, and Lisboa wines. As a low-yielding grape, it imparts body, flavor and plenty of tannic structure to blends of Aragonez (Tempranillo) and Syrah, as well as to the legion of indigenous grape varietals that thrive in Portugal.
Touriga Nacional is a dark skinned grape that yields tannic, complex wines with a great ability to age. It thrives in hot, dry climates and is also highly resistant to fungus, all of which makes Touriga Nacional increasingly attractive around the world as the planet heats up. Although the cultivation of Touriga Nacional outside of Portugal remains low, Australia, California, South Africa, and even France are now increasing their cultivation of this grape. Beginning in 2022, Touriga Nacional will be one of the seven new grape varieties permitted in Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur wines according to France’s Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO), the nation’s appellation governing body. With global warming playing havoc in the world’s wine regions, Touriga Nacional’s fortunes are sure to continue and likely face a meteoric rise.
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