Torrontés is the characteristic white wine grape of Argentina, producing fresh, aromatic white wines. Three Torrontes varieties exist in Argentina: Torrontés Riojano, the most common, Torrontés Sanjuanino, and Torrontés Mendocino. It is primarily Torrontes Riojano that has received attention for the quality of its wines, and is the variety used for most high-class Argentine wines simply labelled Torrontes. All three Argentine Torrontes varieties belong to the Criollas group of grape varieties, which is a term used for presumably American-born cultivars the European grapevine Vitis vinifera.There is also a Torrontes grape variety from Galicia in Spain, also known as Albillo Mayor, but it probably has no direct relationship to the Argentine Torrontes varieties.
|Wine description||beautiful structure and acidity along with enticing fruit flavors --fruity, floral and yet still quite dry|
|Food pairing||smoked meats, mild to medium-strong cheeses, and seafood. pairs well with spicy food|
|Origin||Argentina but more likely Spain|
|Notable wines||provinces of Catamarca, La Rioja, Mendoza, Salta, San Juan and Rio Negro|
Recent research using DNA profiling has shown that the different Torrontés are genetically closely related but distinct grape varieties, and that Torrontes Riojano, Torrontes Sanjuanino, and Torontel (also known as Moscatel Amarillo) are all separate crossings of Mission (originally reported as Criolla Chica) and Muscat of Alexandria. Torrontes Mendocino was found to probably be a crossing of Muscat of Alexandria and another, so far unidentified grape variety. While the Muscat-like qualities of the Torrontes varieties meant that a relationship to Muscat of Alexandria had been expected, the presence of Mission or Criolla Chica in the pedigree was unexpected to the researchers.
It is not known how Torrontes arrived in Argentina, but it seems to have been there a long time, suggesting that it and the other varieties of the Criollas group were brought by Spanish colonists, quite possibly missionaries.
Around 8,700 hectares (21,000 acres) in Argentina have been planted with Torrontes Riojano, and 4,850 hectares (12,000 acres) with TorrontÃ©s Sanjuanino. Plantings in the very high altitudes (1700m+) of the Calchaques Valleys in the far north of Argentina have recently met with success. The vine is highly productive and is just under ten percent of all white grape plantings, however as a varietal, it makes up almost 20 percent of all white wine sold in Argentina (2008). The best Torrontés wines are said to come from the province of Salta in the north west of the country,and the grape thrives in cold dry conditions. It has a low acidity, smooth texture and is characterized by distinctive peach and apricot aromas on the nose.
Torrontes likes dry, windswept conditions. Torrontes Riojano has large loose bunches of pale grapes; Torrontes Sanjuanino is similar. Torrontes Mendocino, however, has smaller, tighter bunches of darker yellow grapes.
RED GRAPE VARIETIES