After going on a particularly strenuous jog the other day, I felt a craving for a nice, relaxing glass of chilled white wine. As autumn where I live has just recently begun and as it is becoming colder and colder every day, I felt it would be a nice way to toast to all those incredibly hot and humid summer days in the city made bearable by a cool glass of Torrontés. It was during this summer that I discovered how much I love this Argentine variety.
At an almacén near my apartment I found this very inexpensive (around 14 pesos) bottle of 2010 Bodegas Etchart Privado Torrontés. After chilling and uncorking it (using a manual lever-less corkscrew, which made me particularly proud of my newly acquired upper body strength), I poured some in a glass and attempted to apply the degustation techniques I have learned at my weekly (En)tastings.
I first looked at the color, which I found to be a beautiful hay-blonde with light green tones mixed in, very bright and clear. The aromas are characterized by sweet, ripe, white-fleshed peach and fresh grape tones as well as flowery tones (jasmine and honey). In the mouth, it is a bit more intense than I expected, very acidic and fruity, a good balance of sweetness, with a slightly bitter finish which I found very unique.
I would imagine this wine would be fantastic in a clérico with bananas, green apples, peaches, kiwis and fresh green grapes. It has a bold enough flavor to where I can imagine it going very well and adding a refreshing coolness to spicy dishes such as a chicken pad thai with lime juice, peanut sauce and red chili. Its acidity would also cut through thicker white pasta sauces nicely (maybe a bowl of chewy gnocchi with a rich parmesan and button mushroom sauce) and it could be a wonderful complement to a creamy chicken and vegetable soup as well. It is a wine, however, that stand its ground alone as well.
I will leave you with a big of technical info about Bodega Etchart, which has recently become one of my favorites. It was founded in 1850 in La Florida, Cafayate in the province of Salta, Argentina. It was the place where the first Torrontés vines, a variety brought over by the inhabitants of the province of Missiones at the end of the 16th century, were planted. Located at the base of the Andes Mountain, at more than 1,750 meters above sea level, it is one of the highest vinicultures of the world. On the one hand, the altitude results in extraordinary temperature differences of more than 30º during the day and 10º or less at night; ideal conditions for the maturity of the tannins of the wines (in this case, resulting in fantastic depth of flavor in the Torrontés). On the other hand, solar radiation generates greater coloring brightness, which added to atmospheric dryness, subtly dries grapes out. This results in high concentrated grapes producing structured wines. [Source]
Whatever they’re doing up on those chilly hills, they’re definitely doing something right! Cheers to Bodega Etchart!