Two Argentine whites for the holidays

Although it’s freezing cold outside,( in Europe at any rate, I’m still sunning myself in South America) there’s always room for white wine, whether as an aperitif or something to go with a roast chicken dinner, white wine is a lovely choice. Pinot grigio is often the go-to drink when people are looking for a light white wine but I’ve discovered a lovely Torrontes from Terrazas de los Andes, an Argentine winery situated in the wine region of Mendoza. Terrazas de los Andes has been producing quality wines since the 1980’s and have turned their hand at making a fresh and fruity yet dry white wine. Torrontes one of the flagship varietals of Argentina along with Malbec and is a hybrid that is unique to Argentina. A cross of malvasia and criolla chica, a native grape of Argentina, it has proven itself to be a real winner of a wine from the vines of Argentina. The Terrazas Torrontes Reserva 2009 is fresh and clean, a great wine with lovely tropical fruit notes, full bodied with great acidity and balance, it was refreshingly dry, an elegant wine which would work on it’s own or with Asian cuisine. Thai dishes, Japanese tempura, ginger, shrimp, all of these popped to mind while I was drinking this wine. Another of Terrazas wines I really enjoyed was their 2009 Chardonnay. Terrazas de los Andes’ vineyards are situated in the Lujan de Cujo region of Mendoza and the chardonnay vineyards sit at 1200 meters. This is great for producing fresh wines. Too much sun and not enough time to cool down at night would result in wines that are flabby and lack freshness and acidity. Terrazas does everything to ensure that their chardonnays are crisp and clean including NOT letting them go through malo-lactic fermentation to preserve freshness, while still exhibiting the true expression of Argentine fruit. So what does a true Argentine chardonnay taste like according to Terrazas de los Andes? A crisp, clean wine, tropical fruit notes with...

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Torrontes on the beach

It’s amazing how easy it is to waste time on Twitter! As much as I love it, it can be a distraction. For example, I got up at noon today (really, I’m an early riser, well 9-ish most days but I’m still recovering from jet lag) all ready to finish off this here post and then the little bird started chirping at me. Should I look? Oh, wait, I see a mention, ok, just one peek. Good morning to you @andrewshot. Ok, back to work. Another chirp. WHAT?!! Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize? Gotta tweet my remarks on that. Ok, back to work. Maybe I should do #Follow Friday? And so it goes….ANYWAY…. Right before my holiday, I went to the Argentine wine trade tasting in London and had quite a few surprisingly delicious wines made from the white varietal, torrontes. I say surprisingly because when I lived in Buenos Aires, the torrontes served up there was truly horrid.  But I digress…torrontes is claimed by Argentina as it’s flagship white wine. No one knows how it got to Argentina but recent DNA profiling suggests it’s a relative of malvasia and most likely came over with the Spanish missionaries back in the day. Either way, it’s the white that Argentina calls it’s own. Somehow it ended up on a tiny little island in the Calibogue Sound off the the coast of S. Carolina. Yeah, the Argentines have reached even remote Haig Point on Daufauskie Island. I spotted the Crios 2007 Torrontes made by Susannah Balbo, one of the most well known and respected winemakers in Argentina on the Calibogue Restaurant winelist and had to order it. The Crios line is her effort to produce reasonably priced, drinkable wine. We had some for lunch on our next to last day of vacation… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Finca Sophenia ’06 Synthesis Malbec and Altosur Torrontes

When S. American wines are mentioned, Chile springs to most peoples minds but Argentina has been making a serious effort to compete with the Chileans here in the UK. While premium Argentine wines have made quite a splash in the US, they’re just beginning to make a dent in consumer consciousness here in the UK. I went to a tasting at the Bluebird Wineshop of the Finca Sophenia winery, based in the Tupungato Valley which is situated at high altitude in the north of Argentina. The vineyard is situated at 1200 metres and is one of the highest grape growing regions in the world. It does, however, have an excellent microclimate with 374 days of sunshine a year which allows the grapes to thrive despite the cold. Estefani Peretti, the representative from the estate was on hand for the tasting. Argentina has two varietals that really only seem to thrive their country, torrontes, a white varietal from Spain and of course, malbec, the red grape from France. Argentina has managed to take these two varietals and make them distinctly their own. When I lived in Argentina, I usually steered clear of torrontes because in my view it was a sickly sweet smelling, floral tasting wine with either no acidity to balance it out or too much.  The Finca Sophenia Altosur Torrontes ’08 exhibited none of those characteristics. It had a lovely, floral but not sweet nose with a touch of honeysuckle to round it out. I found it pleasingly dry with good acidity but not too much that it drowned out the white flowers and citrus character of the flavours. The finish was nice and long and had a lilting flowery/citrus echo. The citrus finish was what really surprised me as most torrontes have that flowery aftertaste but this one lacked that which made it a stand out. I could imagine this being a great sushi wine or even having it with spicy Thai food. The Synthesis Malbec ’07 is one of Finca Sophenia’s...

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