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Getting to know Argentina’s signature white wine

August 18, 2011 - by Kathy Stephenson

Looking for a new wine, cocktail or micro-brewed beer? In this column, we ask an expert for a recommendation. This week we talked to:

Scott Cunningham » Owner of Bottleneck Wines, a certified sommelier and wine broker in Park City.

What are you drinking now? » 2010 Manos Negras, Torrontés, a white wine from San Juan, Argentina.

Why do you like it? » When it’s hot outside, I naturally gravitate towards crisp and refreshing white wines like this. The Torrontés is light yellow with explosive floral aromas, citrus fruit flavors and a bright, clean finish.

What makes it interesting? » Argentina has really burst into the U.S. wine scene in recent years by delivering outstanding wines at a good value. Most wine drinkers are familiar with Malbec, Argentina’s quintessential red grape. But Torrontés is Argentina’s signature white grape.

The grape varietal, Torrontés was once thought to be of Spanish origin, but DNA testing proved otherwise so no one knows its exact origins. Some have theorized that it is a cross between Muscat and a local Argentinean varietal called Criolla Chica. This would certainly fit, as this wine has a little bit of Muscat’s cool melon-like flavors.

The Manos Negras winery is owned and operated by an American wine educator, an Argentine vinticulturalist and two New Zealand winemakers. The name translated from Spanish means “black hands,” a reference to the grape-stained hands of a winemaker.

Cost » $16.99 at state wine stores.

Food pairing » Torrontés has high acidity, which makes it an ideal wine with food. Serve it with Thai and Asian cuisines, grilled mahi-mahi, an apple walnut salad, or pizza with white sauce.

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