Nick’s hitting big flavours with an Argentinian white that’s tamed its tempestuous Torrontés grape this week
Given the right setting and context, there is no better drink than white wine. The problem is that there are a lot of rather dull whites out there. I like mine big and punchy, full of fruit and flavour, and whilst I can see the appeal to some of a dry white, for me there just isn’t enough going on. This summer, I urge you to go outside of the Sauvignon and Pinot box and try something a little bit different, like this little wonder from Argentina, Michel Torino’s Torrontés de Cafayate.
Torrontés is a white Argentine grape variety, which produces very fresh and aromatic wines, not too dissimilar to Muscat. Michel Torino’s vineyards are among the highest in the world, clocking in at 1,700m above sea level. This means the vines get plenty of sun but also a consistent cooling breeze, a climate ideal for grape growing, and conditions that the Torrontés in particular thrives in. It should be noted that the Salta region of Cafayete is renowned for its Torrontés due to the above.
Torrontés wines are best drunk young and are very dependent on the hand of the winemaker, with poor examples being overly alcoholic or bitter. The key to a successful bottle is to carefully balance the acidity, and fortunately, Michel Torino has presented a wonderful example of the grape in his offering.
On the nose the wine is spicy, with tropical fruits coming at you from every direction, but chief among them is sweet and juicy lychee, followed by ripe peaches and apricots. This wine has bucket loads of flavour: in the mouth the fruit comes together like a glorious symphony reaching crescendo, perfectly balanced and with delicately crisp finish, a surprise in such a big wine. With potential as a great aperitif, it would also work well with chicken or shellfish, or due to its character, perfectly alongside oriental cuisine.