Touriga Nacional is a well-known Portuguese variety used in the production of Port and red table wines. Growing conditions in Temecula mimic that of Douro Valley, such that this variety is quite at home here in the Temecula Valley. Between our original planting in our ”Port” block at Carter Estate and our mountain block at Wild Horse Peak, we select the very best fruit for this sparkling application. The varietal character of Touriga is an exotic mélange of rose petals and peonies, buried in blueberries and dark black berries (some say lingonberries) with a rich structure of bittersweet chocolate and delicate, fresh herbs. A short fermentation on the skins gives us the desired color and extraction before pressing and finishing fermentation in our Charmat tanks.
As a grape choice for making sparkling wine, the field has many other more subtle, classic choices, but no varietals with this type of character or color. Our decision to create a sparkling wine using this varietal hypothetically opens the debate to what is right and wrong. Or perhaps sinful? This wine is not delicate, it is bold and brash. The color is dark purple, not a classic “champagne” tan. The tannins and aromas are boastful, not shy and withdrawn. This is an “in your face” sort of sparkler that cries for a hamburger or some carne asada tacos. Not so with your usual Chardonnay/Pinot Noir based sparkling wine, which makes this sparkling wine such a fun choice.
Go to the dark side, and be a little bad; besides, it’s good to be a little naughty, when you are being nice.