Tag Archives: Torrontes

Salta wines

Colomé and Amalaya: Wines from Salta, Argentina

There is more to Argentina’s wine than just Mendoza. You’re missing out if you don’t venture beyond the country’s best-known region.

Today we’re focusing on Salta. This region is located in the north of Argentina and is characterized by its mountainous terrain. Here you’ll find some of the highest elevation vineyards in the world.

For a taste of Salta, try wines from Colomé and Amalaya. These wineries are located in the Calchaqui Valley, at elevations of more than 5,000 feet above sea level. The vineyards benefit from intense sun during the day and cool nights, ideal growing conditions.

Amalaya wines

The natural place to start is with Torrontes, the signature white wine grape of Argentina. This grape produces aromatic, dry wines with lovely floral notes.

Colome Torrontes & MalbecThe 2015 Colomé Torrontes is made entirely from Torrontes. The wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel to preserve its bright, fresh characteristics. This is a wonderfully fragrant wine, like taking a sniff from a bouquet of flowers. Gardenia, orange blossom and jasmine mix with slightly sweet citrus, with good acidity adding balance. $15, 13.5% alcohol

I first enjoyed Amalaya wines when I was in Buenos Aires and I’m so glad they’re available in the United States. The 2015 Amalaya Blanco is a blend of 85% Torrontes and 15% Riesling, two grapes that nicely complement each other. Just as with the Colomé Torrontes, the aim is to showcase the true nature of the grapes — controlled, cool temperatures during winemaking and stainless steel aging make the finished wine fresh and fruity.

The floral nose of the Amalaya Blanco introduces a palate of white flowers, jasmine, white grapefruit and lemon peel with a layer of minerality. Gentle acidity gives crispness, and the finish is clean with a touch of orange blossom honey. $12, 13% alcohol

Colome wines

Moving on to the reds, the 2013 Colomé Estate Malbec comes from four estate vineyards at varying elevations: La Brava Vineyard at 5,740 feet; Colomé Vineyard at 7,545 feet; El Arenal Vineyard at 8,530 feet; and Altura Maxima at the almost unbelievable elevation of 10,207 feet above sea level. The blend of Malbec grapes produces a wine that is bold yet elegant, with red and black fruit notes and firm tannins. Juicy dark red cherry and blackberry flavors are supported by an earthy backbone and a touch of black pepper and cedar. $25, 14.5% alcohol

Amalaya Blanco & MalbecThe 2015 Amalaya Malbec is a blend of 85% Malbec, 10% Tannat and 5% Syrah. The three were fermented and aged separately, and blended just before bottling. One quarter of the wine was aged in one year-old French oak barrels for 10 months.

The fruit flavors in the Amalaya Malbec come through first – raspberry, ripe red cherry, plum and a touch of blueberry. Then come the spice and earth notes, with black pepper, cigar box and violet. Though the wine has a lot going on it’s not one that you need to overthink. The Amalaya Malbec is the kind of wine you can enjoy any night of the week, no fancy meal required. $16, 13.9% alcohol

Colomé and Amalaya are part of the Hess Family Wine Estates portfolio. For more information  www.hess-family.com.

ARCS Atlanta Fall Cocktail Party

ARCS

Winzer Krems Grüner Veltliner Sandgrube 2012

Kremstal, Austria

Grüner Veltliner is a white wine grape from Austria. Don’t let the name throw you off — the wine made from Grüner Veltliner is easy to drink and very food friendly. Crisp and dry, this light to medium-bodied wine has bright citrus fruit flavors and subtle white pepper, with gentle wet stone minerality and refreshing acidity. A touch of spice lingers on the finish. Extremely versatile, Grüner Veltliner can pair with food ranging from shellfish and salads, to spicy dishes and Asian cuisine.

El Supremo Torrontes 2012

Mendoza, Argentina

As Malbec is considered the red wine grape of Argentina, Torrontes may be considered the white wine grape of the South American country. This is an extremely aromatic wine, with floral and citrus notes. El Supremo Torrontes has aromas of jasmine, gardenia and Meyer lemon, with crisp flavors of white grapefruit, white peach and subtle honeydew. Give the wine some time to warm in the glass and the floral notes will grow more vibrant.

Colombier Ventoux Rouge 2012

Côtes du Ventoux, Rhone, France

In the area surrounding Mont Ventoux, the Ventoux AOC in France’s Rhone region is one of Provence’s most picturesque areas. Perched villages, local markets, sunflowers, lavender and acres of vineyards have inspired artists, authors and vacationers. The Colombier Ventoux Rouge is a blend of Rhone grapes Grenache and Syrah. Medium-bodied and richly textured, this wine has aromas of ripe black fruit and flavors of blackberries, plum, pepper, black olives, rosemary and a hint of mint.

Sierra Batuco Reserva Carmenere 2011

Maule Valley, Chile

Carmenere is a red wine grape that is originally from Bordeaux. Today you’ll find it primarily in Chile, where it has become the country’s signature grape. Pepper and spice characteristics are what make Carmenere a treat to sip, and make the wine an ideal pairing for steak and grilled meats. The Sierra Batuco Reserva Carmenere is full-bodied with concentrated flavors of blackberry, black cherry, black and green pepper, smoke and a touch of mocha on the long, velvety finish.

Winzer Krems Gruner VeltlinerEl Supremo TorrontesColombier Ventoux RougeSierra Batuco Carmenere

 

For more information on wine consulting by the Amateur Gastronomer email info@amateurgastronomer.com

AG Pick: Filus Torrontes 2010

Taking a sniff of Torrontes can be like sticking your nose in a bouquet of flowers. The grape produces white wine that is fresh, floral and aromatic.

Just as Malbec is the red wine grape of Argentina, think of Torrontes as the white wine grape of the South American country.

If you need a touch of spring as it gets colder this fall, try the Filus Torrontes 2010. Its elegant mix of citrus and floral notes are sure to brighten any day.

The Filus Torrontes comes from Salta, Argentina, a region in the northwest part of the country. The vineyards are located at the edge of the foothills of the Andes at an altitude of 5,750 feet. The Torrontes grapes were hand harvested from 40 year old vines. The wine was fermented in stainless steel, preserving the fresh characteristics of the grape.

The Filus Torrontes is bright golden yellow in color with aromas of white flowers and citrus. The taste is a lovely mix of flowers and fruit. Jasmine, gardenia and rose mingle with lemon, white grapefruit, white peach, pineapple and just a hint of white pepper. Gentle acidity rounds out the wine, giving it a pleasant and light mouthfeel. The satisfying finish has lingering floral notes.

The Filus Torrontes can pair with seafood and shellfish, salads, cream or olive oil based pasta dishes, risotto and spicy cuisine.

A bottle of the Filus Torrontes 2010 costs $11.

13% alcohol by volume

More White Wines | Red Wines | More Under $20

Great Value Summer Whites

Keep your summer going well into September with one of these great value white wines.  They’re perfect for an outdoor picnic, a day at the beach, as an aperitif or whenever it’s too hot to drink a red wine (or later on when you wish it was too hot for red).

All of these whites are $10 or less, so don’t be afraid to taste a new or unfamiliar varietal.

All have screw caps so they’re great for outings or parties — no need to remember to bring a corkscrew.

Try one of these whites at your Labor Day weekend get together.

Starborough 2008 Sauvignon Blanc ($9)
Marlborough, New Zealand
12.5% abv
This refreshing white is the perfect match for a hot day.  It’s light in the mouth with high acidity, some minerality and a crisp, clean finish.  Citrus aromas give way to flavors of white grapefruit, lemongrass, sage and a hint of honeysuckle, with a touch of lemon peel on the finish.  Though this white does have some herbaceousness, it doesn’t have the strong grassy taste that other New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs tend to have.

Essay 2009 Chenin Blanc ($9)
Western Cape, South Africa
13.5% abv
This white is not as tart as the Sauvignon Blanc, thanks to the addition of Viognier (5%) that softens the acidity and adds a touch of spice.  Refreshing flavors of lemon, lime and honeydew are rounded out by notes of white flowers and guava.  Overall this white is smooth and supple in the mouth with a lingering hint of granny smith apple on the crisp finish.

La Vuelta 2009 Torrontes ($9)
Mendoza, Argentina
13% abv
If you’re a fan of Sauvignon Blanc but want to try something different, try this white from Argentina.  Similar in taste and in body, this Torrontes has elegant floral notes on both the nose and palate.  The 2009 La Vuelta has flavors of orange, sweet lemon, a hint of honeysuckle and not quite ripe peach.  Crisp and lower in acidity than some of the other whites, this wine has a clean finish.

Niederösterreich 2009 Grüner Veltliner ($9)
Austria
12.5% abv
Grüner Veltliner is made for summer parties.  It’s an extremely versatile dry wine that can pair with all sorts of foods ranging from shellfish to spicy Asian cuisine.  If you’re looking for a crisp white, the 2009 Niederösterreich is it.  This wine is tingling with acidity, with almost an effervescent feeling in the mouth.  In taste it’s all about citrus — lemon, lime, white grapefruit — enhanced by notes of white pepper, peach, a hint of jasmine and nice minerality on the tart finish.

Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler 2009 Riesling ($10)
Mosel, Germany
10% abv
This off dry Riesling is the sweetest white of the group, though still light enough to enjoy on a warm day.  Its golden delicious apple and apricot aromas continue to develop on the palate, enhanced by a hint of wildflower honey.  The wine finishes clean, with lingering sweet fruit.

Cheers to a delicious end to the summer!

AG Pick Under $20: Bodega Colome Torrontes 2008

Argentina is not just famous for its bold and spicy Malbec.  The South American country also produces great white wines made from Torrontés, its characteristic white varietal.

If you’ve never tried Torrontés and enjoy drinking white wines, go out and buy a bottle right away.  This grape produces fresh and aromatic wines that have delicate floral and tropical fruit notes.  If you enjoy the roundness of Viognier or like Sauvignon Blanc minus its grassy or herbaceous notes, this wine is for you.

A great introduction to Torrontés is the 2008 Bodega Colomé Torrontés.  It comes from the Calchaquí Valley in northwestern Argentina.  The wine is 100% Torrontés from 30 to 60 year old vines and is aged for 3 months in stainless steel tanks.

Lemon-yellow in color, this wine has inviting aromas of gardenia, honeysuckle and a hint of lemon.  The palate is a blooming bouquet of white flowers, orange blossom and jasmine, rounded out with lemon, grapefruit and white peach.  Well balanced with good acidity and minerality, this elegant wine finishes clean and crisp.

Enjoy this Torrontés on its own or pair it with shellfish, risotto or Asian fusion cuisine.  And since it’s never too early to look forward to warmer weather, this white makes a great summer wine.

A bottle of the 2008 Bodega Colomé Torrontés costs $15.

AG Pick Under $20: 2007 Familia Zuccardi Santa Julia Tardio

Kick off the weekend with something sweet!  My pick for a sweet sip: the 2007 Familia Zuccardi Santa Julia Tardio.  It is a late harvest wine from Argentina made from Torrontés grapes.

Familia Zuccardi TardioNot familiar with Torrontés?  Just like Malbec is Argentina’s characteristic red varietal, Torrontés is the country’s characteristic white varietal.  Torrontés produces fresh and aromatic wines that are meant to be enjoyed young.

Tardio is the first late harvest Torrontés I’ve tasted and it made me a big fan.  Pale gold in color, Tardio is sweet without being overly so, and is not syrupy like other dessert wines.

Aromas of stone fruit and white flowers introduce flavors of apricots, figs and orange peel with luscious notes of honey woven throughout.  Silky in mouthfeel with balanced acidity, the wine has a long and complex finish.

Enjoy Tardio with fresh fruit, dessert, or on its own after a satisfying meal.

A 500ml bottle of the 2007 Familia Zuccardi Santa Julia Tardio costs $16.