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Torrontes is the only grape variety which is 100% Argentinian. Even though there are various areas and provinces in the country where it is cultivated such as Mendoza, San Juan, La Rioja and Salta, the latter is the most important considering the quality and diversity we can find there.
Last October the seminar ‘The New Universe of Torrontes’ took place during the celebration called ‘Week of High-Altitude Torrontes’ in Salta where a group of expert winemakers had detailed discussions: Claudio Maza (Winery El Esteco), Paco Puga (Winery El Porvenir), Andrés Hoy (agronomist from winey Colomé), Mariano Quiroga Adamo (winery Dal Borgo) and Maximo Lichtschein (Tordos Wines).
Torrontes from Salta has historically expressed fresh and sweet aromas of flowers and tropical fruits, with remarkable acidity and freshness. However, they agreed that the last few years has compelled the wine industry players to stop talking about just one style of Torrontes.
“Consumers set us the way forward, their preferences and new trends”, says Claudio Maza. Let’s check what are some of those trends.
Historically, Torrontes from high vineyards were wines with sweet aromas, fresh fruits. Since 2016’s harvest, the citrus (thiol), vegetable and herbaceous (pyrazine) characteristics are being worked on. A more elegant and subtle profile is coming.
Torrontes has been historically produced with high yield (40 tons or 50 tons per hectare). That goes against quality, it gets unbalanced plants (from the internal chemical structure to the plant’s conduction system), leaving a big percentage of clusters exposed to solar irradiance, leading to a general aroma degradation. Thus, low yields (15 tons – 20 tons per hectare) allow the plant to let the grapes grow and avoid high direct sunlight exposure and express more delicate and fresh aromas.
Harvesting some weeks before the historic average timing provides more natural acidity and green and fresh aromas. In addition to that, at the same vineyard, the grapes are collected at different stages of maturity, so that they can get lower alcohols and natural freshness.
Formerly with a general and not-controlled pressing, phenolic aromas were drained eliminating the elegant character. Nowadays, pneumatic pressing levels are vital, so they work with separate musts in order to apply customized pressures. The usage of selected yeasts also helps to highlight the freshest aromas.
Each of the above mentioned points, among other things, contributes to make disappear the old classic bitter character at the end of the mouth from Torrontes.
From the winery El Porvenir, this Torrontes comes from an estate called El Retiro, in Cafayate. The vineyards are at 1650 MASL of altitude. Once harvested, it is fermented in brand new French oak barrels and then it spends 8 months sur lie. On the nose, it is very scented and fresh, with notes of vanilla due to the ageing in the wood. In the mouth, it presents an excellent structure, long finish with impeccable aftertaste sensations.
Elaborated by Finca Quara, the grapes come from Cafayate valley, in Salta. They are manually harvested and then fermented in brand new French oak barrels. After that, they remain in contact with lees for eight months to foster its structure. On the nose, the aromas of honey and tropical fruits like pineapple and mango are highlighted. In the mouth, it is balanced with great acidity. Good and elegant finish.
This Torrontes by the Winery El Esteco is obtained from three different vinifications. 60% of it is made in contact with skins during maceration and then it continues with the traditional fermentation. 25% of the traditional fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks and the remaining 15% is fermented in brand new and second-use French and American oak barrels. As a result, we get intense, harmonious and delicate aromas, where the highlight is the Torrontes grape itself with the presence of citrus fruits. In the mouth, it is fresh and fruity with an excellent palate. Very easy to drink.
100% Torrontes coming from Cafayate. Manually harvested and then transported in plastic cases to preserve its quality. It had a pre-fermentation cold maceration for four hours and then a traditional fermentation in stainless steel tanks. On the nose, it is very aromatic with typical notes of this variety combined with fresh fruits and white flowers. In the mouth, it expresses a pleasant feeling, with balanced acidity and a great finish.
Puna 2600 Torrontes 2017
From Bodega Puna, which is located in Cachi (Salta), this Torrontes is manually harvested and then it has a pre-fermentation maceration to boost the fresh aromas. After the blooming which takes place 24 hours prior to the racking, it had a traditional alcoholic fermentation. Subtle aromas to citrus fruits and mineral, where the highlight is the tropical fruit. In the mouth, it proposes a pleasant feeling, elegant acidity with a fresh and fruity finish.
Very pale yellow with golden highlights, clean and shiny. In the nose, citrus notes of orange and lemon, notes of tree fruits like apple and pear and notes of cream. In the mouth, it is very fresh, balanced and silky on the palate. Pleasant sweetness, very drinkable.
Golden yellow with greenish reflections, clean and bright. On the nose notes of fruits of trees like pear, floral notes like white flowers, and citrus notes like lime and grapefruit. There are also green notes. The palate is enveloping, generous, refreshing, smooth and unctuous. Some butter is distinguished. Interesting.
Clear, shiny, low intensity of straw yellow hue. The nose is of good typicity and medium expressiveness shows floral notes to ripe nardi and jasmine. There are also memories of butter and yeast, white peach, and pineapple. In the mouth it is frank and neat, with dry entrance, it evolves with average body and a certain greasiness. Its acidity is fair and its middle finish, slightly bitter.
Winemaker graduated at Don Bosco school, wine communicator and editor of the blog www.thebigwinetheory.com
He used to work, from 2005 to 2013, in different wineries in Mendoza, participating in the technical area of elaboration, microbiology, fractionation and quality control. Some of them are La Rural, Familia Zuccardi, Escorihuela Gascón and Finca La Celia. In parallel, since 2010, he began his career as wine communicator. In 2012 he created his blog “The Big Wine Theory” and since then he has collaborated with several digital channels.
He currently works as Wine Communicator of Bodega Gimenez Riili and is responsible for the content management for social networks of Santa Julia Winery, Cassone Family Winery, Benegas Winery, Clos de Chacras Winery, Compuertas Negras Winery, Arpex Argentina and Wine Institute (where he also works as a teacher).