August 2008

Wine Talk: Refreshingly Delicious Torrontes

Author: Krissy Cantelupe

Ah, the month of August—so hot, so humid, and just the right time for a cold glass of Torrontes. The crisp, aromatic white of Argentina, Torrontes is becoming quite popular in the United States, so popular that some wineries have sold out, awaiting a new vintage.

DNA testing has shown the Torrontes grape as a relative of the Malvasia family of grapes, widely planted in the Eastern Mediterranean and on the island of Madiera. But how did it get to Argentina? Researchers believe that it has been cultivated for hundreds of years in the New World, which suggests European explorers and missionaries brought it with them. Torrontes is also planted in Chile, but is used primarily for the brandy Pisco, a popular distilled spirit.

On the vine, Torrontes grapes are medium-sized, yellow-green in color, with some grapes more golden than others. On the nose, the wine is very similar to Viognier, with heavy scents of peach blossoms and fresh oranges. On the palate, Torrontes is meant to be drunk young, right away so that the crisp, freshness is still abundant. Flavors of rich honeysuckle, lemon and lime, and other tropical fruits leave your tongue tingling, because even with all of that fruit, the wine still finishes quite dry.

Torrontes is perfect for a hot summer day; it will definitely quench your thirst. It is also fantastic with shellfish, smoked meats and medium-flavor cheeses, as well as the lighter poultry dishes. Torrontes is also a great mate for those hot and spicy foods, as well as Asian and Caribbean cuisine. Many wineries are even blending Torrontes with other white grapes to see how unique this wine can be. So keep an eye out for a bottle of Torrontes. Delicious!

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