Monday, March 24, 2008

Torrontés: A White to Discover

I was looking for an inexpensive white wine that I had never tried before. I wandered over to the South American isle at my local BevMo and spotted a bottle with a grape I'd never heard of: Torrontés. The bottle was only $9.99, so I had my selection. Little did I know what a surprise was in store for me! (Picture courtesy of "All About Argentina.)

Without knowing it, I had picked up the "White Wine of Argentina." Some claim that the grape originated in Spain, but it seems everyone agrees that Torrontés has flourished in Argentina. The high altitude, alternating hot days and cold nights, and soils combine to produce a grape whose wines are described as having floral aromas, rich, lush flavors and wonderful acidity.

I found it interesting that Argentina is the 5th largest producer of wine in the world and that most of it is consumed in the country itself. In the US, the average person drinks 2 gallons of wine a year, whereas in Argentina, they drink 7.5 gallons a year. It's also interesting to think that right now, Argentina is just starting to prepare for the harvest of grapes that will become the vintage of 2008 whereas we in the northern hemisphere are just starting the growing season! One more "fun fact," the dreaded phylloxera plague never found its way to Argentina. As a result, this is one of the few areas of the world where grape vines grow on their own root stock. Back to the grape.

Torrontés grows mainly in the Mendoza region, highlighted on the map to the left (courtesy Wikipedia.) The Mednoza area is better know for its wines made from the red grapes Malbec or Tempranillo. But you'd be missing a lot if you pass over their signature white.

The first night I had this wine I didn't have it with food. I just sipped it after it had been chilled lightly. The aroma was slightly like champagne to me, though many others describe it as floral. Some have compared it to the scents of Gewurtztraminer. I enjoyed the flavors that also reminded me of champagne (without the bubbles) or a dry Sauvignon blanc. I couldn't really pick out a specific fruit flavor, but the wine was very good as a sipper. The following night I had it with Chinese food. It was a great match, especially with the ginger in the paper wrapped chicken. The two flavors played off each other in an intriguing way.

I found several other bloggers who reviewed the wine (see the list below) and I'll definitely have to try more Torrontés in the future. At such an affordable price, this could become my white wine for this summer. Check out these reviews for a more informed take on this cool grape:

(This grape is # 55 on my way to 100 grapes.)

2007 Pascual Toso Torrontés

Color:  Light golden yellow

Aroma:  Slight beer aroma, almost like champagne

Taste:  Similar to a light, dry Sauvignon blanc, nice acidity, almost like Champagne without the bubbles

Finish:  Slightly bitter, but in a good way

1 comment:

Taster A said...

I've been really impressed with the wines out of Argentina. We've had a couple of whites that we though were very old world in style (not oaky-smoky). I'll be looking for this one. Thanks for sharing.

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