Spring has sprung – and here’s a grape variety that will encourage you to break out of those winter cobwebs and try something a little floral, fragrant and terribly tasty.
This is a dry white wine made from the Torrontes grape, Argentina’s most widely planted white variety which is about 10% of plantings but produces about 20% of the white wines (it’s used as a blender in many).
There are 3 versions of Torrontes – Sanjuanino, Riojana and Mendocino. The first two have been proven by DNA profiling and ampleography to be a cross between Criolla Chica or Mission and Muscat d’Alexandria. Most Torrontes are the Riojana version and are labeled simply as ‘Torrontes’.
It was originally believed that Torrontes is the same as the version grown in Spain, but recent evidence suggests there’s no such link.
The best Torrontes comes from Argentina’s Cafayete region, located in the far north east and at only 26 degrees south latitude, is renowned as being one of the premium growing areas. It’s extremely close to the equator, but it’s windswept and cool here and consequently it’s possible to grow grapes because of altitude.
These are some of the highest vineyards in the world – at 1700 or even 1800 m above sea level, the heat found at lower elevations is mitigated by the coolness of the mountain air. They’re irrigated with fresh mountain water and when yields are kept lower, the wines can be very delicious. Torrontes wines are vinified in stainless steel and not treated with oak.
This wine is clear and bright, medium lemon with legs. The nose is clean and youthful with pronounced intensity and aromas of flower blossoms, honeysuckle, stone fruit, pomelo and citrus zest.
The palate is dry with high acidity, medium alcohol and body, medium plus intensity and flavours of yellow grapefruit, lime rind, white peach and nectarine, light honey, white blossoms and a medium plus finish with slight bitterness on the back end.
This wine is a solid WSET ‘Good’. Good acidity and fruit concentration combine to produce this refreshing and fruity wine. Drink now, don’t hold as they’re not meant to age. A great alternative to the same old, same old Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Grigios and Chardonnays.
Go for it. Be bold. Yes, you can. Try some Torrontes.