Feature

Torrontés: White wine’s malbec?

White wine made from the torrontés grape is being touted as the “hottest” Argentine import since the tango.

What is it about Argentina and obscure grapes? asked Eric Asimov in The New York Times. Until Argentine wineries got behind the malbec, that grape had few fans anywhere else in the world. Today, the white wine made from the torrontés is being touted as the “hottest” Argentine import since the tango. Time will tell if that’s true, but the grape bears “more than a passing resemblance to the gloriously fragrant muscat,” and U.S. sales of torrontés, while still modest, have grown eightfold since 2004. Before jumping in, know that Spain also has a torrontés grape, which is apparently unrelated.  Be aware, too, that Argentina’s torrontés are still “all over the stylistic map.” The best, though, have an “aromatic exuberance” that’s “singular and pleasing”—just like the three below.

2009 Michel Torino Cuma, Cafayate Valley ($15) A good value, this wine is “fresh and lively,” with aromas of orange and cantaloupe.

2009 Catena Alamos, Salta ($14) Another “thoroughly refreshing” torrontés, with “aromas of orange blossoms.”

2010 Crios de Susana Balbo, Salta ($13). A “well-balanced” wine, boasting “lingering flavors of mandarin and honeydew.”

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