Can you say “Torrontes”?

Would you like to learn Spanish, but that difficult double-R is getting in your way? Here’s a tip: Open a bottle of Torrontes and repeat its name a few dozen times between sips.

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By the time you’ve repeated that wine name with its trilled double-r so many times, you may be ready to go on to the iconic Spanish tongue-twister, “R con R cigarro, R con R barril, rápido corren los carros, cargados de azúcar al ferrocarril.” Or maybe you’ll just want to forget the whole thing and pour another glass of Torrontes.

That wouldn’t be a bad thing to do, and extra credit if you do it during Sunday evening’s Copa America Centenario soccer championship final between Argentina and Chile. While most of us from the rest of the world outside Argentina may know the country’s wine mostly from its trademark red Malbec, Torrontes is just about as important to get to know. And that goes double during summer’s heat, when a flavorful, aromatic white makes a better cooler than any robust red.

In recent years, according to’s thorough article on Torrontes, this white grape is becoming as synonymous with Argentina’s whites as Malbec has been for the reds. It comes in several varieties. It might have come from Spain; it might have been developed in Argentina in vineyard crosses of Italian varieties with Muscat of Alexandria, an ancestor that might help explain its aromatic nature.

In any event, like most grapes that grow up over centuries in a region’s wine tradition, it is vinified in many styles. There’s nothing unusual about this – think about the many fashions of Loire Chenin Blanc, for instance, from light and sweet to dry and full to rich and ageworthy – or the difference between Sauvignon Blanc in Bordeaux or Pouilly-Fumé against Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand.

The vast landscape of Cafayate. (©Wines of Argentina)

The vast landscape of Cafayate.
(©Wines of Argentina)

Argentina’s best region for Torrontes is said to be the Cafayate Valley in the high-altitude Salta region of Mendoza, the nation’s famous wine-growing region on the arid eastern slopes of the Andes. Some of the Salta vineyards lie close to 10,000 feet above sea level, placing them among the world’s most lofty wine-producers.

Today’s featured wine, Domingo Molina 2014 “Hermanos” Valle de Cafayate Salta Torrontes, comes from this favored region and shows the style of Torrontes well at a very reasonable price point. It offers an enticing blend of peaches, fresh green herbs and snappy tangerines with an intriguing touch of minerality in a wine that’s aromatic without being overwhelming, rich yet dry. I think you’ll like it. Check my tasting report below.


Wine Focus for June: The Southern Hemisphere

Book your flights, grab your mosquito repellent (Beware! Zika!) and let’s head for the Southern Hemisphere this month. Got a Pinotage you have been dying to open? Chilean Carmenere? Have an orphan bottle of Penfolds Grange staring at you from the cellar? Or maybe a Torrontes like the wine featured today!

Want to join the fun? Simply grab your choice of any wine from any nation below the Equator, and bring your observations to this month’s Wine Focus on our WineLovers Discussion Group (WLDG) and our WineLoversPage Facebook page.

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Today’s Tasting Report

Domingo Molina 2014 “Hermanos” Valle de Cafayate Salta Torrontes ($14.99)

Domingo Molina

Clear, light straw color, with a faint greenish hue. Good, aromatic fresh-fruit aromas, peaches in the foreground, with a faint touch of a green herb like basil or tarragon behind. Ripe peaches are even more apparent on the palate, leading to the expectation of sweetness, but it’s not all fruit; bone dry and appropriately acidic, it offers a good medium-bodied texture, with touches of subtle stony minerality and snappy tangerines joining with the juicy fruit to balance the flavors in a very long finish. U.S. importer: Vine Connections LLC, Sausalito, Calif. (June 10, 2016)

FOOD MATCH: A natural with mild fish and shellfish, poultry or pork, it went well on our table with a simple Northern Italian pasta, spaghetti with butter and fresh sage.

WHEN TO DRINK: This fresh white is best drunk up while it’s young and fresh. It won’t go over the hill in a year or two, but the synthetic plastic-foam stopper adds urgency: it won’t last long. I’d buy this wine to drink, not to cellar.

VALUE: My local price is a dollar or two above’s reported $13. I’d call it a fair price anywhere below the middle teens.

Here’s the winery’s fact sheet on the Torrontes (in Spanish).

Find vendors and check prices for Domingo Molina “Hermanos” Valle de Cafayate Torrontes on


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