If there is a flagship white grape of Argentina, it is the aromatic Torrontés. And if it hasn’t caught fire the way its red counterpart, Malbec, has in this country, it is worth a closer look.
Torrontés is characterized by its fresh and floral qualities, which make it both interesting and easy to drink. While some bottles lack dimension, that’s not the case with Bodega Colomé’s delightful and elegant 2018 Estate Torrontés from the Calchaquí Valley in the Salta region of northwest Argentina.
Like Gewürztraminer, with its powerful herbal and floral aromas, the best examples of Torrontés also have attractive underlying fruit, which makes them balanced and nuanced.
With its straw color, Colomé’s Torrontés has aromas of rose petal, white peach, and honeysuckle. You’ll find those same notes on the palate, joined by a good deal of grapefruit. This one has a richer mouthfeel than some I’ve tasted, with a long, citrusy finish and lively acidity that comes from the altitude of the vineyard, which is above 5,000 feet.
It all adds up to a round and refreshing and somewhat exotic wine that will pair well with fish and shellfish, sushi, and some spicy Asian dishes. Its array of aromas and flavors emerge as the wine warms up a bit, another reminder not to drink white wines too cold.
Don’t look for a flood of Torrontés in this country. For one thing, three times more red wine is produced in Argentina than white, with Malbec the overwhelming leader both in production and wines exported.
But Torrontés is around, and in Colomé’s wine, you’ll find unusual complexity for about $13, which also makes this one an excellent value. Colomé, by the way, has been owned by Donald Hess, the international wine magnate, since 2001. But that’s another story.