The Messenger Touriga Nacional 2020

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tart black plum, black raspberry, plum leaf, dried violet petal, and anise


“The Messenger” is one of many projects created by Rob Michaels, an Australian winemaker with a passion for Old World varieties, who currently resides in the Napa Valley. Together with his wife, Kat, Rob sources fruit from small growers across the globe, whether he has an Australian Shiraz or a domestic Cabernet Sauvignon in mind. However, his recent partnership with a family in Portugal has resulted in this Touriga Nacional, a variety whose importance in Portuguese winemaking cannot be overstated.

Portugal’s Douro Valley, with its steep cliffs and ancient stone terraces, is one of Europe’s oldest continually producing wine regions. This is where the wines destined to become Port are born, from red and white varieties grown on the banks of the Douro River. In this case the fruit is harvested by hand, mostly out of pure necessity, as the steep incline and proximity to the river makes heavy machinery all but impossible to operate. Then the juice is shipped to California in bulk where Rob and Kat finish the vinification and maturation process for the wine at their winery in Napa. The wine is then aged in neutral French oak and stainless steel until bottling.

When you open this wine, I strongly suggest decanting for at least half an hour. In addition, this wine benefits from being served at cellar temperature, or about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. On the palate, notes abound after this wine is decanted. Drink now through 2028 with sausage casserole, vegetable stews, or pasta e fagioli.

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