If you are a fan of unoaked white wines (Gewürztraminer and Riesling) it is time that you make yourself well acquainted with Torrontes. It is quickly becoming known as the “White Grape of Argentina” and Malbec’s counterpart. It is currently only found in Argentina, but I am certain that once this grape hits it will become so popular that it will be produced all over the world.
The origins of Torrontes seem to be in the Mediterranean and most likely is related to Muscat of Alexandria and Criolla Chica.
There are three types of Torrontes in Argentina at the moment: Torrontes Mendocino, Torrontes San Jaunino and Torrontes Riojano (the most widely cultivated and the one you are most likely to find at your local wine shop).
I particularly enjoy Torrontes from the Salta area which is in the north of Argentina. The region has a high elevation and it is quite dry which is absolutely perfect for growing Torrontes.
When you first experience Torrontes you will immediately notice it’s aroma. The nose is floral and fruity and can fool you into expecting a sweeter wine. Some Torrontes will smell like jasmin and freshly cut ginger. As soon as you put the wine in your mouth you will notice a viscosity and mouth feel not normally experienced in other unoaked whites that is followed by flavors of orange oil, chamomille and tropical fruits like peaches. As you swallow you will notice a gorgeous minerality and a finish that is dry and pleasant. This is not a boring grape by any means, this grape is complex, gorgeous and at the same time quite friendly to those who are new to wine.
This grape is absolutely perfect for seafood and shellfish but will stand up to a gorgeous grilled steak in the summer.