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El Porvenir de Cafayate Laborum Single Vineyard Torrontes 2013
The Salta region in northern Argentina is home to world’s highest vineyards. Near the town of Payogasta, the Colomé Altura Máxima vineyard is planted at 10,206 feet in elevation.
Salta is part of the Calchaquí Valley, which benefits from more than 300 days of sun per year, subjecting its vines to considerable ultraviolet radiation. The valley experiences strong high altitude winds, even in the “lower” vineyards, which are planted at 5,413 feet. Because of these elevations and resulting extreme conditions, vines produce lower yields and thicker-skinned grapes, resulting in concentrated, aromatic and well-structured wines.
In a truly unique region, the highly aromatic variety, Torrontes, thrives; intense sun exposure allows full ripening, while cooling winds maintain the grapes’ acidity levels and phenolic balance.
Upscale hotels, beautiful colonial architecture, a majestic Andean backdrop and impressive food and wine make the area attractive among tourists as well.
Salta is the fourth most important Argentine wine-producing region after Mendoza, San Juan, and La Rioja. Its oldest vineyards were planted in 1862.
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.