Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Baren Ridge Touriga

After almost 30 years in management at Philip Morris—several of those spent in Europe and the Middle East—John and Shelby Higgs decided it was time to come home to the Shenandoah Valley. Growing up on the apple orchard that his grandfather purchased in 1934, John dreamed of far-away places, but as his children grew and his family’s farm became overgrown with weeds, John began to think of returning home. Living in Switzerland exposed him to European wines and the centuries-old traditions of grape growing and winemaking.

Located on the family’s former apple orchard, Barren Ridge Vineyards is now home to Augusta County’s premier winery. John and Shelby Higgs converted their old apple barn into a state-of-the-art winery, preserving the original structure and wood beams.

I was introduced to this wine by Richard Leahy. The 2007 Touriga won a Bronze Medal at the 2008 Atlantic Seaboard Competition and at the 2009 Virginia Governor's Cup. The grapes were harvested on September 28, 2007. And the winery produced 235 cases.
Release Date: April 2008. The winery's notes: "This rich, full bodied red is round and velvety with bright cherry and currant. Perfect served with steaks and bold enough to compliment rich dishes such as steak au poivre or osso buco."

Bartholomew Broadbent wrote in Forbes magazine: "Touriga nacional is a common grape in Portugal, both for port and dry reds. Broadbent tried this particular wine when making selections for an "America versus the best from elsewhere" tasting, and was "blown away" by this touriga from Virginia. "An attractive smoky nose, it had great length and was delicious. And only 13%. Bravo!"

Yes, yes, and yes, to all of the above! A big, deep, brooding wine. Touriga? What an interesting choice. Deep, dark fruits. Not too much tannin. Big mouthfeel. And well done. A very impressive wine.