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Torrontés finds its place in the world

Standard-bearer of Argentine white varieties, this grape has managed to position itself in the main export markets. Argentine winemakers talk about 2010 Torrontés’s characteristics and comment on how consumers around the world embrace this wine as one of their favorites.

This unique white grape variety from Argentina has become the favorite of consumers around the world. Similarly, several international journalists are full of praise for this grape. A big fan of Torrontés is Stephen Tanzer, journalist at International Wine Cellar, who wrote on his last report that the new Torrontés releases are showing interesting textures and stronger presence on the palate, making them more flexible to enjoy with a meal.

The quality of this year’s Torrontés harvest is paving the way for attracting new consumers. Thus, Torrontés is no longer considered just an aperitif; it has become the perfect companion of great meals. 2012 Torrontés are presenting themselves as “conquerors of fine palates”.

A word from the winemakers

Who better than the real protagonists of the Argentine 2012 Torrontés harvest, the winemakers of the main producing wineries, to tell us about the characteristics that the new vintage of this variety presents in all the wine regions of Argentina.

Daniel Pi, winemaker at Bodega Trapiche, stressed that, in general, wines conserve that intense aromatic profile they had in previous vintages. “Specifically, in Cafayate, wines have lower alcohol content, maintaining a citric and orange blossom style, typical of the region. As regards color, they present an interesting greenish-yellow color that could be slightly stronger than in the 2011 wines.”

For his part, Ignacio Lopez, winemaker of Bodegas Etchart from Cafayate, underlined that the 2012 harvest was marked by wet weather and cloudy days. “As a result, Torrontés grapes managed to keep a greater natural acidity, offering fresh wines with a citric profile, aromas of white flowers and low alcohol content.”

With respect to this zone, Susana Balbo, winemaker and owner of Dominio del Plata, agreed that this was a complex year in the Calchaquíes Valleys because of humidity and rainfalls.

“This is why we had to work harder to avoid botrytis and counteract bitter flavors in wine. However, wines show good quality and health, just like the Torrontes from Mendoza.”

Another representative of this grape is Rodolfo Griguol, of La Riojana Cooperativa. According to the expert, the 2012 harvest in La Rioja was marked by lower yields that produced more expressive and full-bodied wines.

Alejandro Vigil, winemaker at Catena Zapata, whose wine Álamos Torrontés is one of the best-selling brands in the foreign market, pointed out that this was one the best grape harvests in the last 4 years.

“In Mendoza we find excellent ripeness and health. We did not have any problems with rainfalls, in fact; it was a good year as far as climate goes.”He also said that it is interesting how each region is finding its own style, “Wines are becoming more and more elegant, with delicate aroma intensity. With the help of the technical team, this varietal is achieving a wider range of aromas, showing complexity and good management of acidity.”

As San Juan’s representative, Pedro Pelegrina, winemaker of Bodega Casa Montes, said that in this region, Torrontés wines are displaying good aromatic intensity, pleasant citric, floral and some vegetal notes, and aromas that remind of Sauvignon Blanc with a silky and slightly bitter mouth.”

Finally, Terrazas de Los Andes’s winemaker, Adrián Meyer, maintained that “2012 Torrontés wines from Cafayate preserve a good expression of white and citrus fruits, and in some cases they show light herbal notes that boost its freshness. In general, they boast good acidity, moderate alcohol level and a medium body. The 2012 harvest stands out for its elegance and aromatic accuracy.

Torrontés and global consumers


To La Riojana’s winemaker, “Torrontés has been attracting supporters around the world throughout the years; it is already positioned in the United States and it seduces consumers of the European markets more and more (though they claim they prefer ‘dry’ wines). Apart from that, Torrontés is casting a spell on the Asian markets for their preferences for this style of wines. In the case of the United Sates, consumers choose it mainly for its aromatic notes, sweet palate and drinkability. And, a Torrontés sweet sparkling wine is even better,” Rodolfo Grigoul underlined.

To Adrián Meyer, “this variety is gaining international presence, of course within the volumes an argentine white wine can manage. In the specific case of Terrazas de los Andes’s Torrontés Reserva, we export it to several countries. The Unites States and Brazil are our most important clients, followed by England that has a weakness for fresh, fruity and balanced wines. What is more, Asian countries, with Japan on top, have an inclination for this variety, perhaps because of their food that goes well with Torrontés.”

Similarly to Meyer, Susana Balbo remarked that she is surprised by the popularity of this style of wines in Asia. “This variety has found a place among white wines options. Considered as a fresh and fruity product, Torrontés is an alternative for those who drink unoaked Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay.”

On the other hand, Daniel Pi commented that this variety has increased in sales, referring to Trapiche, but it is still a ‘niche’ product. “However, once consumers taste it, they add it to their list of every-day wines. It is a captivating wine.”

Ignacio Lopez, for his part, is surprised by the differences in countries’ profiles that add Torrontés to their portfolio. “We may find from Northern European countries to Old World’s producing countries and some Latin American and Caribbean countries, too. I believe that what makes Torrontés popular is its aromatic intensity, freshness and adaptability to different pairings and occasions,” he stressed.

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