What’s in My Glass? Torrontés


Since quitting my insanely boring,  overly air-conditioned, miserable desk job last week, I’ve decided to take a more adventurous (and extremely scientific) approach to discovering new grape varieties.  In part because I’m starting sommelier school in the fall, but mostly to keep my drinking life exciting, I’m jumpstarting my grape conquest and will be sharing all the dirty details here weekly via What’s in my glass? 

First, the method:

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  1. Blindfold yourself. And make sure you look Good.

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Spin rapidly in a circle without falling or dropping your huge wine goblet.

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Make sure your handy grape varietal chart is nearby.

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Dizzily allow your finger to land on the chart.

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Take your shoes off, open a bottle of the lucky variety and enjoy on a chaise lounge.

What’s the first grape my empty hand landed on, you ask? TORRONTES! And what a pleasure it was to explore the leading white variety that hails from Argentina, which some are calling “Moscato all grown up.”

To go along with my reading, I picked up a bottle of Trivento Reserve 2011 Torrontés, from the Mendoza–a large region in the mountainous country that’s been bringing Malbec to the US, and in 2010 shipped over 200,000 cases of its popular white counterpart here as well.

I sipped as I read up on the 3 varieties of this grape, and their respective regions and histories, and found this crisp, overtly pear-flavored bottle to be a pleasure.  Instantly, I understood the connection to Moscato because this bottle also had distinct sweet notes, though it was clearly characterized more by pear and Golden Delicious apple flavors than the Mott’s apple juice taste of many bargain moscatos.

Classically, torrontes tends to have a very floral aroma, which was the only element I found to be lacking in the Trivento. The aroma was pleasant–and you can’t complain much with an $8 bottle–but I expected a bit more wow factor on the nose, daring me to drink it, instead of simply allowing me to do so.

This easygoing grape is exactly that when it comes to food pairing–easygoing and flexible.  It’s great with fresh shellfish, zesty Asian fare, or light salads that allow the fresh fruitiness of the grape to shine.

Torrontes will be in my glass for awhile–what’s in yours?

Torrontes Uncorked

Laura Loves: The price tag! The Trivento I tried was only $8, and the NY Times top picks all balanced out in the $15-$20 range too!

Abigail Stern for lovingly drawing the cartoons in this post.

Fun Facts: Thanks to DNA research, it appears that the Spanish Torrontes grape bears no resemblance to Argentine Torrontes.

Torrontes has 3 varieties: Torrontés Riojano, the most common, Torrontés Sanjuanino, and Torrontés Mendocino. (Though you’ll rarely see anything on a label that goes past “Torrontes.”)

Torrontes makes up about 20% of wine planting in Argentina.

 

  • July 25, 2012
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