Argentina, Great wines under $10, Torrontes, White wines

Alta Vista Premium Torrontes 2008

Winemaker: Ruben Sfragara
Grape: Torrontes
Region: Salta (Cafayate), Argentina

During their stay in Argentina in the 1980’s, Patrick d’Aulan with his beautiful wife Kristen created a high quality sparkling wine. Bubbles were nothing new to this talented pair – the worldwide known champagne Piper Heidsieck also carried their name.

But when d’Aulan family discovered the beauty and potential of Argentinian varieties as Malbec and Torrontes, they decided to invest in the land and founded Bodega Alta Vista. Their new mission was to produce top quality Argentinian wines and introduce their local varieties, then not widely known, to the rest of the world.

I believe that it was also Patrick and Kristen, who originally brought famous winemaker Michel Rolland to Argentina. It started a whole new era of foreigner winemaking and investment in local vineyards. Argentina became a showcase for many talented winemakers. Besides the Alta Vista wines, d’Aulan family later became a part of Michel Rolland’s 7 winemaker’s circle, involved in a very successful Clos de Los Siete project.

Bodega Alta Vista in Argentina is only a small percentage of d’Aulan’s wine mission – they are also part of Edonia group, a French family owned company engaged in the production of high quality wines in France (Champagne, Calvados, and Saint Estephe + Saint Emilion in Bordeaux), Argentina (Cafayate and Mendoza) and Hungary (Tokaj).

The family wine experience of several generations, their passion for different styles of wines and the fact that they purchased some of the world’s highest vineyards in the northern Argentine region of Salta – all of these ingredients were a recipe for d’Aulan family’s business success.

Alta Vista was one of the first wineries to invest in this region and today they own 20 acres of 60 year old Malbec vineyards in Lujan de Cuyo, 195 acres of mixed vineyards at the same region (all 1,050 m above the sea level) and almost 370 acres of land in Valle de Uco (about 180 acres planted with vine).

The Torrontes that comes from these vineyards is considered some of the best in the world. After a brief maceration on the skins, the Premium Torrontes is fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. There is no malolactic fermentation or oak aging. That allows the wine to develop rich and concentrated flavors with a very clean fruit expression.

Tasting notes:
Straw yellow wine with delicate floral, lime and honey aromas. Not that it’s sweet. This really is a white wine unlike anything you had before – fruity with perfect balance of crispy acidity. On the palate you can taste notes of peaches, lemon and honey. This is a lot of complex flavor for around 10 dollars. Nicely done! Beautiful for sipping on its own or paired with a seafood.

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: around $ 10.00

Ideal food pairing:
Seafood salad, Shrimp in mustard sauce, chicken, fresh salad with balsamic vinaigrette and apples, all kinds of tapas, Chinese food, Indian food, My happy tilapia, Light quinoa salad, or our crisp pork medallions with creamy caper sauce, Grilled trout, Angel hair pasta with spicy seafood

Argentina, Great wines under $10, Mendoza, Torrontes, White wines

Alamos Torrontes 2009

Winemaker: Felipe Stahlschmidt
Grape: 100% Torrontes
Region: Mendoza, Argentina

A beautiful Bodega Alamos, owned by Catena family enterprise, is located in Vistaflores, in the heart of Mendoza. Their philosophy is to make flavorful, approachable wines that represent the region. So how do they differentiate from other Mendoza producers?

The attention to every little detail during the time vines mature in the vineyard, during the harvest and wine making process assures that Alamos wines are the highest quality possible.

The harvest is done manually to assure gentle handling of grapes. When the wine arrives in the winery, the grapes undergo double manual selection and only the best grapes are chosen for Alamos wines. This process is time and labor costly, therefore usually reserved for “reserve” or top of the line wines, often double or triple the price. But in Bodega Alamos, this “special treatment” is reserved for all their wines.

To allow gentle extraction, the winery designed a special conic tanks. They are also using a small format tanks for separating a different lot selections. All these “little details” makes Alamos wines very special.

Tasting notes:
Don’t forget to sniff this wine! It has such a lovely aroma of fresh flowers and tropical fruits. Very attractive, crisp wine with lemony flavors and honey, balanced with bright acidity on the finish. This is a wonderful example of true Torrontes from Mendoza. Terrific wine for hot summer. I have to go back and get some more myself!

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $ 10.00

Ideal food pairing:
lovely to sip on its own, seafood salad, shellfish and white fish, summer salads with light lemon dressings, tapas

Argentina, Torrontes, White wines

Tapiz Torrontes 2008

Winemaker: Fabián Valenzuela
Grape: 100% Torrontés Riojano
Region: Valle de Famatina, La Rioja, Argentina

Vine estates of Fincas Patagónicas at Famatina Valley in Mendoza grows under really stressful conditions. At 1000-1400m above the sea level, in almost desert-like conditions (with some of the lowest annual rainfall of any wine producing region) and drastic changes of temperature, the team of bodega TAPIZ has to carefully irrigate with water from the Andes mountains. Yet, these extremes resonates very well with grape called Torrontes.

Beautiful surroundings of Mt. Plata (6100 meters) and Tupungato volcano (6800 meters)not only gives an additional uniqueness to already very unique terroire, but also provides an amazing scenery around the vineyards.

Tasting notes:
Bright yellow color with almost greenish tones. Beautiful, rich aroma of flowers and tropical fruit. Well balanced wine with just perfect level of acidity provides mouthful of satisfying flavors. Lovely long finish makes you reaching for a second glass.

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $ 17.00

Ideal food pairing:
Seafood, shrimp scampi, grilled scallops in bacon, spicy cuisine such as Chinese, Indian, Thai or sushi