Torrontes is the characteristic white wine grape of Argentina, producing fresh, aromatic white wines. Robinson, Jancis Vines, Grapes & Wines Mitchell Beazley 1986 ISBN 1857329996 Three criolla varieties exist in Argentina: Torrontes Riojano, the most common; Torrontes Sanjuanino; and Torrontes Mendocino.
Torrontes is also a Spanish grape variety from Galicia, but its relationship to the Argentinian varieties is uncertain.
Recent DNA research has shown that Torrontes is related to the Malvasian group of grapes, which originated in the Eastern Mediterranean and found its way to such Atlantic islands as Madeira. It is not known how Torrontes arrived in Argentina, but it seems to have been there a long time, suggesting that it was brought by Spanish colonists, quite possibly missionaries.
DNA research has also confirmed that the two major commercial varieties, Torrontes Riojano and Torrontes Sanjuanino, are closely related. Torrontes Mendocino has ampelographic differences that suggest it may be a different variety altogether.
Distribution and wines
Around 8,700 hectares in Argentina have been planted with Torrontes Riojano, and 4,850 hectares, with Torrontes Sanjuanino. Plantings in the very high altitudes (1700m+) of the Calchaquies Valleys in the far north of Argentina have recently met with success. The vine is highly productive and is just under ten percent of all white grape plantings, however as a varietal, it makes up almost 20 percent of all white wine sold in Argentina (2008). The best Torrentes wines are said to come from the province of Salta in the north west of the country, and the grape thrives in cold dry conditions. It is a distant relative of the 'Tarrantes' grape commonly found in southern Italy. It has a low acidity, smooth texture and is characterized by distinctive peach and apricot aromas on the nose.
Torrontes is grown in Chile, chiefly for production of Pisco.
Vine and viticulture
Torrontes likes dry, windswept conditions. Torrontes Riojano has large loose bunches of pale grapes; Torrontes Sanjuanino is similar. Torrontes Mendocino, however, has smaller, tighter bunches of darker yellow grapes.
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Torrontes