Tinta Roriz – Tinto Cao – Touriga is a red-wine blend used commonly in the Douro and Dao regions of northern Portugal. In this context, "Touriga" may refer to any combination of Touriga Nacional and/or Touriga Franca. Along with the two Tourigas, Tinto Cao and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) account for the majority of red wine grapes grown in the Douro and Dao vineyards, and for a very good reason: they are the four most valued ingredients in Port wines. But the modern face of Portuguese wine is looking away from the fortified wine style with which the nation has been so strongly associated, so these grapes are being used increasingly in dry, red table wines.
It's worth remembering that the Port wine style is a product of history, politics and war (for details, see Port), rather than any lasting viticultural concern. While the style has been phenomenally successful and embraced and imitated the world over, it is far from the be-all and end-all of Portuguese wine. The indigenous grape varieties of the Douro and Dao are capable of producing dry red table wines of very high quality, which is precisely what is emerging from the regions' modern winemakers. The grapes at the heart of this revolution are Tinta Roriz (known as Aragonez in Alentejo), Tinto Cao, Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca.
Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional form the foundations of this blend, with their deep color, solid acid structure and pronounced tannins. On top of this, the slightly lighter Tinto Cao and Touriga Franca bring layer upon layer of bright fruit aromas and sweet spice notes. When well cared for in the vineyard, and judiciously blended in the winery, this combination of grape varieties produces Portugal's finest dry red wines.
Food matches for Tinta Roriz – Tinto Cao – Touriga wines include:
- Beef Wellington
- Lamb, spiced orange and thyme tagine
- Empanadas stuffed with beef, onions and bell pepper