Saturday, June 9, 2012

Recuerdo Torrontes

This one snuck up on me.  I just reported on Facebook that R8 Cabernet Sauvignon was the big hit at last night's store tasting.  And it was.  We sold two cases with two coming in next week that should go out in short order.  Then I realized that the Torrontes sold out also, at a higher price point even.  We sold one case last night and we will get another next week and it should sell well because of the season.

About three years ago Pinot Grigio surpassed Chardonnay in white wine sales at this store.  I view that as a turning point in our history.  Now Torrontes amongst other lesser known varieties is on the map.  It is another choice in a marketplace that is maturing before my eyes.

We have blogged about Torrontes in the past here but to continue with my train of thought, there is more going on here than just another white wine on the shelf.  A couple months ago we tasted the Argentine wines of Il Porvenir de los Andes, the Laborum line.  The reds were around $30 and the Torrontes at $20 was the best I had ever tasted.  Recuerdo is $16.99 and comes close to Laborum in quality.  They also have commonalities in grape variety, Torrontes Riojano, and place, Recuerdo from La Rioja, Laborum from Salta; both high altitude northern provinces.  To generalize: Torrontes Riojano seems to be the best of the three Torrontes varieties and northern high altitude, semi-arid climes seem best for making this kind of wine.

Here is what impresses with Torrontes: it is a marriage of citrus and floral flavors and aromas.  The wine is usually fermented in stainless steel tanks so it retains a light color and crisp quality to the finish.  The fruit flavors include peaches and apricots with a hint of lemon; the floral aromas and flavors are forthright and essential.  I perceive Torrontes to be a wedding of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, my two favorite white grapes.

One final observation about Recuerdo would concern the label.  I am a Chicago guy who is color blind.  Recuerdo sports a barren tree (grape vine bush perhaps?) against a pale blue background.  I love it.  It is a stark black on gray image to me that invokes winter in Chicago, the gray city.  Cold as you-know-what.  Now I've been a Georgia guy for thirty years, most of my life, and this is home.  It makes me thirsty.

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