Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wanted: More Torrontés

It’s a wide world of grapes out there. There are many grapes in this bountiful vineyard of a world that I have not sampled in the form of wine, many that I have. Many are there that I return to over and over, and many that I ignore for long stretches of time. Torrontés, I’ll try to do better by you in the future.

Sometimes, oftentimes, the premier white wine grape of Argentina does not find its way onto restaurant wine lists. It’s rarely on a "general consumer" type of shelf. When I go to specialty wine stores, it seems I’m always searching down another aisle. Maybe I just need to hit more Argentine restaurants for dinner.

I was at Gaucho Grill in Brentwood recently, about to dig into their superb Argentine cuisine for the first time in a while. Gaucho was once an easy roll on the craps table of dinner in L.A., but they closed the one most convenient to us, and it became geographically undesirable. I’ll just have to drive a little longer from now on.

The Atlas Cumbres Torrontés 2015 from the Lagarde Winery made me realize how much I missed the grape. The wine is made from 100% Torrontés grapes, sourced from a third-party vineyard in Cafayate, Salta, in the northern part of Argentina. There is no malolactic fermentation and and they employ only pure steel tank aging. They also let the wine age for up to two years in the bottle. It carries alcohol at 14.7% and sells for about $12 online.

This Torrontés is lightly tinted and smells of beautiful flowers, minerals and citrus. Perhaps my favorite white wine aroma is that of wet rocks in a stream, and there’s plenty of that here. On the palate, citrus meets peaches amid a low, earthy note that anchors the wine like the best bass player you ever heard. It’s perfect with sea bass and grilled zucchini and blended nicely with Gaucho’s new chipotle-infused chimichurri.