Touriga: the award-winning red varietal you need to try

Move aside Shiraz, there’s a new red wine varietal winning awards in the Barossa Valley – Touriga Nacional.

RedHeads wines has been awarded the trophy for Best Red Wine – Other Varieties at the 2023 Barossa Wine Show. 

Touriga Nacional is considered by many to be Portugal’s finest varietal. It has been grown in the Douro and Dão regions for centuries and is best known as a Port variety, but is becoming known as a table wine too.

There are about 70 Australian producers making wine from this variety and this is the first release of a straight varietal Touriga Nacional by RedHeads, crafted from its own vineyard planted in 2019.  

RedHeads Wine was established in 2002 in McLaren Vale by ‘liberating’ fruit from growers who were tired of seeing their prized grapes being blended away into big-name wines. Wines were made in a make-shift winery converted from an old Indian restaurant, called ‘RedHeads’ by corporate winemakers after hours.  

Today, RedHeads has its own custom-built, certified organic, sustainable, winery located in the Barossa Valley. It also has its own dedicated team of winemakers, and its own vineyard! 

Replacing some old Chardonnay vines, the team decided to plant Touriga to solve the problem of sourcing grapes for two of its prized wines, ‘Night of the Living Red’ and ‘Return of the Living Red’. Three years later, the finished wine looked so good they made a single-vineyard, single varietal wine which has gone on to win this prestigious award. 

The vineyard, while mostly Shiraz, has just seven rows planted to the Portuguese variety. The finished wine is a ‘new-age’ style, medium-bodied and fruit driven with notes of Turkish delight and cherry.  

General Manager and winemaker Alex Trescowthick said: “We planted Touriga to fill a need, but we also knew that the variety was nicely suited to the block due to its sandy soils over clay and we were confident it would deliver a style that would suit our existing wines.

“When the finished wine looked so good, we decided to bottle a small portion as a single varietal. Our new, winery was designed exactly for this type of wine, small-batch, minimal intervention, varietal expressions that reflect the site the grapes are from.”

View all the Barossa Wine Show winners here.

A finalist for its green creds on the same night

On a night that meant being in two places at once, RedHeads was also nominated as a finalist for its green initiatives in the small-medium winery category at the 2023 South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) Awards. While crowned winner at these awards in 2021, RedHeads was a notable runner-up this year. 

“We are proud to win an award for our Touriga, but we are also delighted to be recognised for our sustainability efforts,” said Trescowthick.

“We hope this nomination at the SAWIA’s plus our existing ‘green’ awards, can highlight to new wineries, what can be done as a wine business to become more sustainable.” 

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Categories: Lifestyle