I am amazed how quickly Sauvignon Blanc became the white wine of choice for so many people. After a quick stop at Pinot Grigio, the world of non-chardonnay drinkers (and even part of the world of chardonnay drinkers) yearning for a tad more zip and flavor flocked to Sauvignon Blanc. And they were rewarded with a wine with oodles of grapefruit and grass flavors. (You will often see wine writers also use the term gooseberry to describe a flavor in Sauvignon Blanc. Since I only recently tasted an actual gooseberry for the first time, I assume that at least some readers don’t know what it is either. But if you’re asked, just say it’s a berry that tastes like Sauvignon Blanc.)
As with many wine grape varieties there are a lot of styles of Sauvignon Blanc but the one that really seemed to catch on is the ultra-grassy/grapefruit style of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Enter Señor Torrentes, the white grape from Argentina and in particular the areas of Salta and Mendoza’s Uco Valley. Torrentes is an aromatic grape with flavors and aromas of citrus, peach and apricot with less of the acidic zip/bite that many Sauvignon Blancs have. Torrentes is one of those wines that I like to say “has an illusion of sweetness” in that it is bursting with bright fruit flavors that on first blush one associates with sweetness but actually has very little in the way of residual sugar. In other words, it is technically a “dry” wine in that it has low levels of any sugar but because of its fruit, it seems like it is sweet. Oh yes … and it is luscious and refreshing!
And one of the best things about Torrentes is its value. Here is a high-quality wine that lovers of aromatic white wines (wines such as Gewertztraminer, Viognier and of course Sauvignon Blanc) can really enjoy at very reasonable prices.
As far as food pairing goes, Torrentes is the perfect accompaniment to Asian preparations and dishes that have a bit of heat to them. Ahhh that refreshing splash of fruit flavor to tame some heat.
A few Torrentes that I can recommend which are about $15 or less are: Susana Balbo, Crios, Mendoza, Argentina; Zuccardi, Series A, Salta, Mendoza, and Fabre-Montmayou, Mendoza, Argentina.
While Sauvignon Blanc champs like Cloudy Bay and Kim Crawford shouldn’t necessarily run for the hills just yet, I do see the potential for Torrentes to make a significant statement in the U.S. market, and perhaps make some converts out of drinkers of aromatic white wines like Sauvignon Blanc.
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