Tilia Torrontes 2017
The fragrant qualities of Tilia Torrontés have a particular affinity for dishes featuring aromatic ingredients like lemongrass, cilantro, ginger, and star anise. This wine would be a fantastic companion to any dish served with herb seafood sauce or just a simply prepared dish of Pescado en Cilantro.
Made at Bodegas Esmeralda, Tilia has been handcrafted to demonstrate true varietal character. The brand is named after the Tilia (Linden) tree commonly found throughout Argentina’s wine country. Vineyard workers often make tea from the flowers of this tree and enjoy time sitting in the shade after a hard day’s work. These wines are a tribute to those workers and to the Argentinean way of living life to the fullest, enjoying every moment and relaxing in the natural environment the land provides. These inviting selections are approachable, affordable and filled with layers of flavor. Tilia wines offer a unique combination of fruit sourced from the traditional Eastern region and the dynamic Southern region of Mendoza. The Eastern region is one of the oldest and most recognized viticultural regions in Mendoza. It enjoys warm, sunny days and cool, desert nights. The fruit from this area offers ripe flavors and excellent mid-palate depth and concentration. The Southern region is considered to be one of the most premier growing areas in Mendoza. At 4,000 feet above sea level, the higher elevation offers much lower temperatures. This allows for more aromatic intensity and higher levels of natural acid creating freshness and balance in the wines. Grapes from this region have very intense aromas and bring a fresh characteristic to the wines. In addition to these general regions, Tilia’s Torrontes grapes are sourced from Cafayate, Salta in the Northwestern region. Alejandro Viggiani is the winemaker and viticulturalist in charge of Tilia. Viggiani graduated with honors from the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza with a degree in agricultural engineering. Continuing his education, he attended the viticulture and winemaking master’s program jointly held by the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo and the prestigious Eccie National Superieure Agronomique de Montpellier, where he specialized in vine physiology. Tilia wines are aged in French and American oak, as well as stainless steel, and are allowed some time in bottle prior to release. They are produced in an approachable style using sustainably farmed grapes.
By far the largest and best-known winemaking province in Argentina, Mendoza is responsible for over 70% of the country’s enological output. Set in the eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains, the climate is dry and continental, presenting relatively few challenges for viticulturists during the growing season. Mendoza, divided into several distinctive sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley, is the source of some of the country’s finest wines.
For many wine lovers, Mendoza is practically synonymous with Malbec. Originally a Bordelaise variety brought to Argentina by the French in the mid-1800s, here it found success and renown that it never knew in its homeland where a finicky climate gives mixed results. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Pinot Noir are all widely planted here as well (and sometimes even blended with each other or Malbec). Mendoza's main white varieties include Chardonnay, Torrontés, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
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 an offspring of Muscat of Alexandria), but the primary difference between the two is that Torrontés is almost always vinified to produce a decidedly dry wine. Grown extensively throughout Argentina, it performs best in the Salta region. Small amounts are also planted in neighboring Uruguay.
In the Glass
No one has ever accused Torrontés of being shy in either aroma or flavor. Notes of rose petal, 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.
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 enjoyed in the sunny outdoors at a picnic, poolside or as a porch sipper.