Anytime a female shopper asks me to recommend a good summer white, I immediately think of Torrontes. “If you took pinot grigio,” I always say, “dressed it up, and took it out on a Saturday night, it would taste like this.” The men never seem to understand, although they always buy one for the woman in their lives. I hate to be sexist this way; but this wine screams femininity. It is playful but delicate; zesty but elegant; fun, fruity and full of flair.
Torrontes has become Argentina’s signature white grape. The best versions come from higher altitude vineyards in Salta. The vine’s ancestry is still under scrutiny; but most scholars are certain it is related to the aromatic Muscat of Alexandria, and possibly descended from Malvasia. But Argentina can claim it as their own, as it appears only Chile has wide plantings of it, which they really only use for the spirit known as Pisco.
This wine is gaining momentum in a hurry. Its increasing interest on the market is comparable to the rise in popularity of shiraz in Australia, or perhaps malbec in Mendoza. Retailers and sommeliers alike love this sort of wine, as it’s a wonderful sipper but also quite versatile with food. I would pair these wines with salads, Indian or Thai, and any lighter fish. The best news is these wines are remarkably affordable, so it’s easy to stock up for the whole summer.
Sight: Pale yellow-green, with bright intensity. Typically youthful, with little viscosity or legs, and a consistent rim.
Smell: Wow. Pronounced, tropical fruit, citrus, apples, and a flower bed in summertime.
Taste: Light-Medium bodied, zippy but not aggressive acidity. Peach, lime, green apple, slight burst of minerality. Falls right in the middle of the ever popular “not too dry, not too sweet” category.
Favorites: Colome, Domingo Molina Hermanos, Gouguenheim