Torrontes Tasting

Our last Thursday tasting until September at Fine Wines of Stockton was Torrontes. Torrontes is an Argentine varietal grown in the Mendoza region. There is also a Torrontes grown in a small area of Galicia in Spain but most experts feel there is no relationship between the Spanish and Argentinian grapes.

In Argentina there are three varieties of Torrontes, Torrontes Riojano, Torrontes Sanjuanino and Torrontes Mendocino. The Torrontes Riojano is the most used varietal although all three appear to come from the same ancestors.

In my opinion the best Torrontes wines come from Salta in the northern part of the country, some from vineyards over 5500 feet in elevation. These cold dry conditions gives the grape nice acidity and smooth fruit flavors and a floral nose. There are also two styles, an oxidative style and a style more in tune with American winemaking keeping the wine in cooled stainless steel tanks.

We tasted six wines;

2010 Andeluna Torrontes – from Tupungato, Mendoza in the Uco Valley south of Mendoza City and up against the Andes. It was a light straw yellow with an obvious floral nose including Gardenia scents. Flavors were mineral and very complex floral flavors. It finished with a clean acidity and was moderate in length. There appeared to be no residual sugar.

2009 Santa Ana Eco Organic Torrontes – Unfortunately this was a bad bottle. The wine was a fairly dark yellow and heavily oxidized. Looking at other reviews online I see this should be the more typical light yellow color with a floral nose. We only had the one bottle which was a sample so we could not open another and give it a fair tasting.

2009 Don David Torrontes Reserve – Coming from the Calchaqui Valley at 5600 feet it was light straw yellow with a floral and oily nose – similar to the diesel you often get with a Riesling. The flavors were floral and minerals, not as floral as the first wine, but very pleasant. It was a lighter flavor than the first wine but had very complex flavors and finished with a citrus and tangerine peel flavor.

2009 Zuccardi [Serie A] Torrontes – Also from the high elevations of Salta, this wine was a medium yellow. Once again the nose was a combination of floral and oil (diesel) scents. The flavors were floral and minerals with a light mouth feel and lighter floral flavors. The flavors were not overly floral, but very complex. Acidity was good with a clean finish.

2010 Santa Julia Torrontes Mendoza – The color was light yellow with a more restrained floral nose with peach and citrus notes. The flavors were a combination of floral and citrus with good acid and a very light mouth feel. The finish was long with acid predominating. This style was distinct from the previous two wines as it was less floral and more citrus in flavor and nose.

2010 Argento Torrontes Procendencia Salta – The nose was floral, though somewhat restrained. Once again, there was a diesel quality to the nose. In addition to floral flavors there were peach flavors and a lot of acid. The acid in this wine was very distinct. We also tasted the Argento back in June if you want to see another review.

These wines are great warm weather summer wines. The floral scents and flavors are very pleasant and the good acidity pairs well with food. Remember Torrontes when you go wine shopping. The styles vary from overtly floral to more subtle floral flavors with stone fruits. There is a Torrontes for your every mood and menu.

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