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Alamos Torrontes 2010
From the vineyard to the winery, the Alamos wines are made to emphasize varietal fruit character. The cool evening temperatures in Catena's high altitude vineyards allow for prolonged hang time, preserving the fruit's full spectrum of aromas and flavors.
At the winery, the grapes are gently destemmed, fermentation temperatures are carefully controlled and two to four year old barrels are used to age the wines.
Stretching from the Andes to Patagonia, Argentina's unique terroir lends to high quality wines. Formerly associated with inexpensive bulk wine but dramatically shifting focus from quantity to quality, Argentina is the most important wine-producing country in South America. Certainly excellent values abound here still, but increases in vineyard investment, improved winery technology, and a commitment to innovation since the late 20th century have contributed to the country’s burgeoning image as a producer of great wines at all price points. The climate here is diverse but generally continental and agreeable, with hot, dry summers and cold snowy winters—a positive, as snow melt from the Andes Mountains can be used to irrigate vineyards. Grapes very rarely have any difficulty achieving full ripeness.
Mendoza, a large and famous region responsible for more than 70% of Argentina’s wine production, is further divided into several sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. Red wines dominate here, especially Malbec, the country’s star variety, while Chardonnay is the most successful white. The province of San Juan is best known for blends of Bonarda and Syrah. Torrontés is a specialty of the La Rioja and Salta regions, the latter of which is also responsible for excellent Malbecs grown at very high elevation.
Unapologetically fun and distinctively fragrant, Torrontés is regarded as the signature white grape of Argentina. In many ways it bears a striking resemblance to Muscat (and in fact is the offspring of Muscat of Alexandria), but the primary difference is that it is almost always vinified completely dry. This results in a wine that smells sweet upon first sniff, but is decidedly not on the palate. Torrontés is grown extensively throughout Argentina and performs best in the Salta region. It is also planted to a lesser extent in neighboring Uruguay.
In the Glass
No one has ever accused Torrontés of being shy in either aroma or flavor. Notes of rose petals, geranium, stone fruit, Meyer lemon, ripe melon, and orange blossom leap out of the glass, and the palate refreshes with a healthy dose of acidity and a streak of salinity. Torrontés should be consumed in its youth to highlight its vibrancy and primary fruit flavors.
Torrontés needs no food—it is delightful on its own as an aperitif wine. However, it can be quite a pleasant pairing with Asian or Indian cuisine, especially coconut curries. Stick to lighter fare like poultry, pork, or seafood in sauces that are flavorful but not heavy. Torrontés also makes for an ideal accompaniment to a bowl of fresh fruit.
If you’re in search of a new summer sipper, look no further than Torrontés. These wines are always inexpensive, delightfully refreshing, and are best utilized outdoors in warm weather at a picnic, beside a pool, or on a porch.