Torrontés is one of those grape varieties that teeters on the edge of massive popularity. Its soft, elegant feel in the mouth, coupled with extreme fragrance and fruit could make it a no-brainer for women wine drinkers and men with enough balls to drink a white wine that smells like flowers. It is truly a lovely wine.
From Argentina, Torrontés was long believed to be a descendant of Spanish Torrontés but DNA evidence says it’s a cross between Muscat of Alexandria and the Mission grape (more history about the Mission grape). Thus, if you like Muscat (aka Moscato) — a wine that’s blowing up right now — then Torrontés should be flying up there with it.
But it isn’t. And that’s downright tragic.
Why? Torrontés is so much sexier than Chardonnay and carries with it enough perfume to wear like Givenchy. It has the body of Viognier and the acidity of Riesling with the glorious aromas and flavors of Gewürztraminer. Plus, although Americans haven’t embraced it yet, it’s basically the unofficial white wine of Argentina, the sister to the ruling Malbec red grape. (Read more about Malbec). If the hot folks in Buenos Aires are sipping it, we should too, especially since most of the high quality bottles cost less than $20.
Callia Alta 2010 Torrontés hails from the Tulum Valley, a sub region of the relatively unknown San Juan growing area in Argentina. They’re known for their Torrontés and Syrah (some call it Shiraz). Medium-bodied, this is a sultry summer sipper. Apricots, ripe peaches and tangerine co-mingle to form a luscious sip, followed by a tart slap of lemon lime on the finish. A fascinating wine with so much orange blossom fragrance, you have to smile. Lovely, as it should be.
Sweetness: 2 out of 10
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Occasion: Sample received from the winery and consumed with Thai curry. Perfect.
Availability: Restaurant wine lists and high end grocery stores. Look up where to find it here.
Food pairing: Thai shrimp green curry, Indian red curry, proscuitto with melon, fresh goat cheeses
Other reliable Torrontés producers:
Crios de Susana Balbo