While Argentina is known primarily for red wines, particularly those made from the Malbec grape, white wines made from the local Torrontes are finally garnering a much-deserved reputation.
Torrontes famously comes from the region of Salta in the north of Argentina, but more and more wineries in Mendoza are giving their higher altitude plots over to the making of this aromatic white.
As we have striven to show with our recent Acequia Wine Club selections (and the ones coming this fall!) there is much more to Argentina than Malbec. In this article Jancis Robinson, one of the worlds most respected wine journalists, shares her thoughts on TorrontÃ©s and recommends some favorites.
By Jancis Robinson | 11:51:57 | 29 July 2008
The wine: Alamos Torrontes 2007 Argentina
The reason: Yes, there is more to Argentina than Malbec from Mendoza.
This exotically aromatic dry white is a bargain way to meet the country's second great gift to the world of wine, the Torrontes grape, most of which is grown in the much more northerly vineyards of Cafayate in the province of Salta.
Torrontes comes in several sub-varieties and, while it may originally have come from Spain, has etched its own very distinctive Argentine personality. It has something in common with Viognier in that it is headily perfumed, full bodied but is generally dry.
The first examples I came across back in the mid 1990s tended to be a bit too alcoholic, a bit oily and sometimes a little bitter. But since then there has been a refinement of the style.
Alamos TorrontÃ©s 2007 Argentina is a great value example of modern TorrontÃ©s, part of a well-distributed range produced by Catena, the most cosmopolitan and successful Argentine wine producer. The Alamos wine is beautifully packaged â€“ looks far more expensive than it is - but it also tastes good.
Torrontes characteristically has a particularly exotic grapey aroma with something floral about it. This example is all that, but it is so rich aromatically that it almost smells like toffee.
Torrontes vineyards Cafayate Salta
However there is so much racy, tingling acidity on the palate that it could happily be served with strongly flavoured salads and pasta dishes, although I think it would probably be best as an aperitif.