Not everyone knows a lot about wines. It usually takes time to browse wine shelves and read every bottle’s ingredients. However, wine is one of the most exquisite beverages you can consume. Picking the best wine that will serve your money’s worth is just not easy. If you’re on the search for good wine, you’re in the right place because, in this article, we will introduce you to a famous wine variety that will surely win your taste buds- the Torrontés wine.
What is Torrontés wine?
The Torrontés wine (pronounced as Tor-ron-tez) is a white, tropical-tasting wine variety that originated in Mendoza, Argentina. Mendoza is located west of Buenos Aires and is Argentina’s central winemaking region. The Torrontés wine is known for its dry texture and intense citrus flavors, with aromas of floral notes and balanced acidity and sweetness levels.
The real origin of the Torrontés wine is still debated. Some say it originally came from Spain. However, in 2003, a DNA test was conducted, and it was proven that the Torrontés wine strain is purely Argentinian. Now, roughly 8,000 hectares of Torrontés are planted in Argentina and labeled as the country’s second most planted light-skinned variety.
Where can you find Torrontés wine?
The best varieties of Torrontés come from Cafayate Valley, widely known for its high-altitude vineyards. The Cafayate Valley is found in the region of Salta on the mountains of Andes. The dry, high altitudes and stable temperature allow the wines to have their wide variety of aromas and bring out their best qualities.
However, you can also find Torrontés in other regions. Spain grows their own Torrontés grapes, which is the reason for the uncertainty about the origin of the Torrontés. In Chile, Torrontés is known as the “Moscatel de Austria” and is manufactured by the Pisco, a Chilean brandy wine. Uruguay, Peru, and San Juan also have their own Torrontés wine.
Varieties of Torrontés wine
In the late 1500s, the Spanish missionaries arrived in Argentina. They brought with them cutlets of the Moscatel de Alejandria and Criolla Chica, Torrontés parent grapes, which gave birth to the three varieties of the Torrontés wine, namely the Riojano, Sanjuanino, and Mendocino and was called “The Torrontés Triplets.”
Back then, no one knew that the three varieties were of different tastes since they were always harvested together. However, they got separated and the Mendocino went to Mendoza, the Sanjuanino to San Juan, and the Riojano to Cafayate. Since they were separated, the people came to discover their distinct qualities.
Riojano is the most planted and has the most expansive reach among the three varieties. This is also known as Malvasia and Torrontel. Riojano is considered the best variety for its aroma and balanced acidity levels. Its flavor is similar to that of Muscat and Gewurztraminer.
Also known as Moscatel Romano, after Riojano comes the second-best variety, the Sanjuanino. Torrontés Sanjuanino is used for two purposes- for producing wine and as table grapes. It’s found in San Juan, claiming approximately 90% of all the vineyards planted there. Its aroma is a combined scent of apricot, rose, peach, or honey.
Mendocino is also referred to as Chichera, Loca Blanca, Palet, and Uva Chichera in other areas. Mendocino originally went to Mendoza. However, most vineyards are planted in San Juan, claiming 60% of Mendocino’s grapes, leaving Mendoza with only 30%. In contrast to the two varieties, Mendocino is mainly used as table grapes instead of producing wine. This is because wines made from Mendocino do not procreate great aroma and taste.
However, there are also other popular Torrontés blends that you can try, such as:
Made in the Calchaqui Valley, Amalaya’s citrus and floral aroma allows it to be one of the best blends of Torrontés. The poor soil quality in the Calchaqui Valleys forced the grapevines to delve deeper into the soil ground to look for nutrients, resulting in Amalaya’s great flavors.
Labeled as the queen of Torrontés, Balbo’s flavor just has the perfect combination of citrus fruits. It was aged in a barrel which made the flavor concentrated.
How is Torrontés wine made?
Torrontés grapes are usually manually harvested, which means it’s picked by hand. It takes time before the grapes get fully ripe before it’s ready to be harvested. Once it’s ripe, winemakers harvest them and extract them.
Squeeze the grapes
The Torrontés grapes are then processed through winepress, a device used to extract juice from grapes. The skin and other impurities are removed from the grapes, and they are mixed with sulfur dioxide to prevent bacteria from spoiling and protect it from bacteria forming. Once the juice is extracted, let it sit to allow any solids to settle down that will add to the flavor of the wine.
Fermentation is the process that turns grape juice into alcohol. The grape juice usually takes around 14 days before it becomes an alcoholic beverage. This is done preferably in areas with cooler temperatures to maintain the floral aroma of the wine.
Wine clarification is simply the filtration of the wine. This process removes any excess yeast or suspended matter due to the fermentation process that can affect the appearance of the wine. The wine is racked multiple times until the wine looks clean. After the clarification goes the fining process. A fining agent is added to the wine to get rid of any left substances that might also affect the taste of the wine with prolonged contact with it. After these processes are done, the wine can be poured into fine bottles and set it up for selling.
Torrontés wine’s features
Torrontés wine is widely known for its aroma and tropical flavor. Its aroma can range from jasmine, rose, honey, pineapple, oregano and has an exotic, fruity taste.
Compared to other wines such as Moscato and Prinot Grigio, Torrontés stands out for their salty lean taste. The high altitude and steady temperature where it was planted allow it to maintain its low acid levels and bring out the grape’s best aromas.
To expand further on its flavor, Torrontés has a dry, refreshing taste. Its flavor ranges from pineapple, melon, apricot, citrus, and lemon. Some Torrontés wines have a hint of mango or lychee with some salinity.
In contrast to the widespread practice of storing wines longer to improve their taste, some wines are not meant to be stored for long. Torrontés wine is a great example. Factors that should be considered in storing wine are fermentation, climate, grape type, and the like. Many wines are suggested to be consumed at their second or third year of age. However, Torrontés wine is best consumed young. Compared to other wines, long storage doesn’t benefit the aroma and taste of Torrontés.
Torrontés wine Terroirs
The Calchaqui Valleys is a set of valleys approximately 200 km long. According to the National Institute of Viticulture (INV) statistics, an area of 4,182 hectares was distributed in 466 vineyards among the Calchaqui Valleys, claiming 34% of the region and 16.5% of the vineyards. The valleys have a stable thermal temperature, making them an excellent place for planting grapes. This allows the Torrontés grapes to bring out their best qualities and aromas.
Being the third most prominent wine region in Argentina, covering approximately 7,800 hectares of land with vineyards, La Rioja wines aren’t just sold locally but also globally. It has shown better results in terms of food-setting compared to our Torrontés wines.
The Uco Valley is found in Mendoza, in the district of La Consulta. Its altitude reaches as high as 1,000 meters above sea level. The National Institute of Vitiviniculture recognized the Uco Valley for its remarkable attributes of growing grapes. The area’s high altitude and cold temperature make it an excellent place to raise a vineyard.
Popular Food Pairings
Due to Torrontés’ fruity, dry flavor, and warm aroma, it’s an excellent pair for Southeast Asian cuisine, such as Asian, Chinese, Indian, or Thai. Dry wine is a great match for light and dainty food since the intense taste of the wine will complement it. However, it can still be paired with a wide array of recipes.
Roast Chicken, Chicken Curry, Pork Barbecue, Pork Chop, Stir-fried Tofu, Ceviche, Pad Thai, Teriyaki, Calamari, Shrimp Curry, Shrimp Pasta, Sushi, Grilled Chicken with Greens, Bacon, Pizza, Tuna.
Fruits and Vegetables
Avocado Toast, Potato Fries, Jalapeno Poppers, Vegetable Salad, Fruit Cake, Fruit Tarts, Pineapple Skewers, Vegetable Empanadas, Cucumbers, Cauliflowers, Squash, Coconut, Mango.
Turmeric, Lemon, Parsley, Ginger, Cilantro, Hot Sauce.
It still comes down to your taste buds to choose which wine you prefer. Every wine is recognized for the long process it goes through before it achieves its exotic aromas and impeccable taste. We hope this article was able to share the proper knowledge about the Torrontés wine that, hopefully, will make you try this out. After all, the Torrontés wine did not become Argentina’s signature white wine for nothing.