And now for something a little different… Argentine pinot noir, Torino ’08


'08 Michel Torino pinot noir

I don’t know what it is but recently whether knowingly or not, I’ve been encountering organic wine everywhere. I was out to dinner with fellow wineblogger, Sarah of Wine90, the other night and she spotted an Argentine pinot noir on the wine list. Now I know Chilean pinot noir’s quite well, even had some very good stuff from Cono Sur  the other day but Argentina is not my go-to place for South American pinot so it was with a bit of hesitation that I agreed to order it.

The Michel Torino vineyards are located in the northeastern province of Salta, in the foothills of the Andes.  The vineyards are some of the highest in the world, over 1700 m above sea level, nestled in the Cafayate Valley. The vineyards get over 350 days of sunshine a year but because of the altitude there are plenty of cool breezes to cool down the grapes and because it is isolated on all sides by desert, it makes the region virtually free of viruses and pests, enabling Michel Torino to practice organic wine production. They’ve been certified organic since 2006.

So I ordered the Michel Torino 2008 ‘Coleccion’ Pinot Noir. It certainly was like no other pinot noir I’ve had before. It wasn’t bad at all, as a matter of fact, it was very well made but it certainly wasn’t what we were expecting. It was quite an intense deep ruby colour. I thought it was smooth but medium bodied whilst Sarah thought it was more medium to full bodied. We both agreed that there wasn’t much of a nose, I got some minerality, loads of rocks and dirt but not much fruit. I was really trying hard but just didn’t get much and neither did Sarah.

The taste however was some intense berry flavours coming out of the glass. Dark berries, blueberries, berries,berries, berries! I was diggin the intensity of the fruit. The finish was toasty and nutty and I even detected a bit of dark cholocate. Nice balance of acidity kept it from being an overblown fruitbomb. For me, it didn’t have any of the smokiness or autumnal qualities I associate with New World pinots. Sarah couldn’t believe it was a pinot, she thought it could’ve been a syrah.

We had lamb and duck and it went quite well with both dishes. The wine standing up to the rather heavy, earthy meats, the fruit not overpowering and the toastiness coming out in the wine. All in all not bad, just not quite what we were expecting from a New World pinot noir.


Michel Torino 'Coleccion' p.noir

Michel Torino ‘Coleccion’ 08 Pinot Noir

Retail: £8.95


  1. Denise,

    Tell Gabriella you won’t go to EWBC unless she agrees to write for Palate Press. : ) (inside joke between Gabriella and me).

    • Hi David,

      Well now, I guess she’s going to have to write for you and you’re going to have to go to Portugal because that’s where I’ll be in Oct! Hope to see you there! 🙂

  2. Did I hear EWBC?! 🙂 We would be elated to have both of you there, and keep in mind, we’re aiming to have plenty of international wine as well! So hopefully, we can provide the “sleuth” with some additional material 😉

    • Yes, Gabriella, you did hear EWBC!! I hope you guys managed to persuade people from the WBC to make the trip over to Portugal! Looking forward to a trip to Portugal 🙂

  3. Argentine Pinot? You always find the most interesting international stuff. Now I will have to try to track this down! As alswya great work, Sleuth! PS: You were very mush missed at the recently passed WBC!!!

    • HI Liza, that’s one of the great things about London, everything finds it’s way here! I have had one other argentine pinot noir, it’s called Valle Perdido. The first time I had it I liked it but on a recent revist was not that enamored, could be vintage. Anyway, I have to tell you about this organic wine from Chile made from the varietal “Pais”, maybe next time!

      p.s. wish I could have been there but there’s always next year or, better yet, the upcoming EWBC in Portugal, Oct 09!!

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