Not long ago, while researching wines of Argentina for articles I had just been contracted to write about, I was surprised as well as honored to be contacted by Jim Caudill, from Hess Collection Wineries in Napa. Jim asked if I would like to taste some of their wines from the wineries they had purchased in Argentina, for my articles. After thinking about it for a mili-second, I said sure! Three days later I received a shipment from Hess containing three of their Argentina wines, Estate Malbec, Amalaya and Torrentes,and pumped when I saw a bottle of 2011 Torrontes, something I had never tasted before.
Torrontes is the signature white wine produced in Argentina, originated in the early 1800’s. There is much speculation as to the exact origin of this wine, with a couple theories that are most probable to be accurate. The first is that it originated as a raisin variety planted by early Spanish Conquistadors. The second is based on DNA evidence, suggesting it to be a cross between grapes of Spain, Galicia, and the Muscat of Alexandria, the most probable.
Torrontes, a beautiful crisp white wine is enjoyed throughout Argentina in the glass as well as with viticulturists and wineries, with a popularity gaining ground by exportation internationally as well. There is no doubt that as the world sees more of it, and has the opportunities of tasting, that its legs will grow and it will rival the light whites of the world, enjoyed today. Light and refreshing, with orange blossom and Muscat tones, this refreshing wine makes for a very refreshing warm weather wine, or one to enjoy with lighter fare and fish for instance.
The grapes that were harvested for this 2011 I was tasting came from the La Finca Brava in Cafayate, Argentina, one of four vineyards owned by the Hess Collection and producing their fine wines. The vineyard is located at an altitude of between 5,500 and 7,300 feet. The acidity of this wine is 5.1 g/l, and it has an alcohol content of 13.5 %.
At the Colome Hess Collection vineyards, grapes for this wine are 100 % Torrontes, and are harvested by hand from vines some 30 to 60 years old. The fermentation process is slow, controlled by select yeast, and kept at a very low temperature, and then this wine was put into stainless steel containers for three months after which it was bottled for two months before release.
Torrontes appears straw color in your glass, very soft and delicate, with fresh flowers, Kiwi, jasmine, lime and grapefruit on the nose, and ends with fresh cut roses. After your first swirl and sip, you realize a delicate floral mouth, both delicate and soft, with a nice elegant finish, bringing a smile to your lips, and a desire for another taste. You will find that this wine is complex and even graceful for a white wine, and will work with shellfish, cheeses or all by itself by the fire or on a hot summer afternoon in the park.
So the next time you are in your favorite wine shop, look for this incredible white from Argentina, and give it a sip or two with your honey.