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The Torrontés Grape


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About Torrontés

(Synonyms: Torrontés Riojano: Malvasia, Torrontel, Torrontel Riojano; Torrontés Sanjuanino: Moscatel Romano, Moscatel Sanjuanino Torrontel; Torrontés Mendocino: Chichera, Loca Blanca, Palet, Torrontel, Uva Chichera, Torrontés Mendozino)

Background

Map showing Torrontes-growing regions of Argentina

Torrontés is a white-wine grape originating in South America, probably in its current home of Argentina. Actually, though, Torrontés (like Muscat, to which it seems to be related) is not a single grape type, but a small family of closely related grapes, three in number: Torrontés Riojano, Torrontés Sanjuanino, and Torrontés Mendocino. We have not made separate pages for those three types but will try to here deal with them collectively. Most comments hold that the Torrontés Riojano grape produces the best “Torrontés” wines.

It is hard to say for sure, but chances are that Torrontés wines from the northern provinces of Argentina—La Rioja and Salta—will be that preferred Riojano, while wines from San Juan and the Mendoza area are often one of the other two types. (Also, do beware bottlings of “Torrontes” from elsewhere than Argentina, because they are often some other grape altogether that happens to locally be called “Torrontes”).

There is a lot of published misinformation about Torrontés, the commonest being marked by an assertion that it originated in Spain; the grapes grown in Spain under that name are totally unrelated to true Argentine Torrontés.

Torrontés is today one of the defining wines of Argentina, indeed one of the defining whites of the South American continent (some is also now made in Chile, though of which kind of Torrontés is less clear). Modern bottlings of Torrontés cover quite a spectrum of quality, from bland plonk to exciting, aromatic and distinctively flavored gems. DNA analysis suggests that one of the parents of Torrontés is Muscat of Alexandria, and better Torrontés wines display some of the characteristic rich aromas and flavors of Muscat wines.

Well-made Torrontés is a medium-bodied wine of some crispness from moderate acidity, and with an assertive nose and palate of stone fruit (typically apricot and peach) with definite overtones of spice and flowers (as in Muscats). It is a wine meant to be drunk while quite young and fresh, and specimens more than a year old should be treated with caution. It is perhaps not a great wine, but it can be very pleasing and refreshing, with an identity all its own. Regrettably, many bottlings trade on the current almost fad popularity of the wines and are sadly mediocre and uninteresting.

Factoid: Torrontés is 10% of the white-grape plantings in Argentina, but 20% of its white-wine sales.

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Some Descriptions of Torrontés Wines

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Some Torrontés to Try

(About this list.)

Dominio del Plata “Crios de Susana Balbo” Torrontés

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Colomé “Estate” Torrontés

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Familia Zuccardi “Serie A” Torrontés

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Loscano “Private Reserve” Torrontés

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Alta Vista “Classic” Torrontés
(This is not their “Premium” bottling.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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For a Splurge

Our nomination is the Dominio del Plata “Susana Balbo Signature Barrel Fermented” Torrontés.

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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This page was last modified on Monday, 23 March 2020, at 3:52 pm Pacific Time.