2003 Cortes de Cima Touriga Nacional Revisited

Oh happy coincidence! Having opened a bottle last week that was sadly corked, I received another bottle of the same wine as a gift for Christmas. Last night I had the chance to open it and let you know what it’s really like.

This wine is from the Alentejano region of southern Portugal, an area well-known for cork production. It boasts hot summers and cold winters and is known to produce some very age worthy wines.

Touriga Nacional is the most important grape in Port production. So it is that many people have been drinking Touriga without knowing it. It’s a wonderful varietal, dark purple in hue with bright acidity and tannin enough to help a wine last for years. It’s well-known to express an array of dark fruit notes as well as earthy espresso and dark chocolate characteristics.

But let’s get on to this wine! It showed a glistening dark purplish garnet colour and sent up aromas of fresh black plum, sweet perfume of blackberry and black licorice with hints of asparagus, ruby grapefruit, espresso and horse sweat.

On tasting, it gave a big splashy, brightly acidic attack of black plum fruit and red currant that lasted for ages on the palate. It opened to vinous grape stems, lovely and fresh with lots of vanilla and warm medium weight tannins.

As the wine opened further there were rich notes of tobacco and a stinging acidity that lingered and stayed all over the mouth. Finally, it gave a flourish of wild cherry cough drops and a good deal of sediment which I always like to see.

Now, this is an eleven year old wine. It has at least another eleven years to go so if you’re building a cellar and want something that’s going to be very rewarding as you taste it over the years, this is a great choice.

I have no idea of the price of course, as both bottles I opened were gifts. For me though, this is one of those wines that a person would be pleased with at any price.

An AGLC product search revealed no results, so I’m not sure a person can even find this wine anymore.

I love it when wineries include descriptions on the back but I never look at them until after I’ve formed my own opinion, This one says:

“CORTES DE CIMA is a family property located in Vidigueira Altentejo southern Portugal, where cool Atlantic breezes moderate the sunny Mediterranean climate. Our grapes are produced in our own vineyards under a sustainable viticulture program ensuring minimum chemical usage in the vineyard.

Made exclusively from selected Touriga Nacional (100%) grapes hand-picked from our own vineyard, aged for 9 months in French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered and therefore might throw a deposit. Drinks well now but will improve in the bottle over the next five years. Winner of 2 Trophies, 2 Grand Golds and 3 Gold Medals in major international competitions.”

So there you have it. That’s my story about Cima de Cortes 2003 Touriga Nacional. It began on a bit of a sad note and finished with a flourish! My favorite kind of story.

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