Blinded by the White

Surprise Pick: Alamos Torrontés 2010

These glorious first-taste-of-real-summer days in Washington in April bring the masses out of hibernation, for fear this could be the only Vitamin D we get until mid-July. The folks I always cringe at are the ones that bare as much pasty white flesh as possible in worship of the sun god, then scar our eyes again with a shade of wince-inducing “scorched lobster.” Didn’t they ever heed the wisdom of Baz Luhrmann?

I invite you to be pleasantly surprised by another kind of white… an Argentinian white wine!

I’ll start by throwing you a curve ball of a rare and little talked-about white wine, Torrontés. Have any of you actually heard of this wine and tried it? I had NEVER heard of it, until it winked at me at my local grocery store (lots of wines wink at me, and I can’t buy all of them). Naturally, I was curious, so I picked up a bottle for kicks. Alamos makes an outstanding Malbec at a terrific value (around $10 or under a bottle), so I figured a white from this label wouldn’t be a total loss. But then again, isn’t Argentina synonymous with juicy red Malbecs? Like Seattle & salmon, or New York & hot dogs? Some things are lumped together for good reason, and shaking up these fixed associations can trigger outcries from the traditionalists.

Evita wants you to understand just how GOOD Argentinian Torrontes is!

Well, phooey on them! Argentina makes an excellent white wine… yes, Argentina, land of acclaimed Malbecs, tango, and Evita Perón!

This is my new favorite white wine! Here’s why: “Torrontés has a unique expression in Argentina and has often been called the country’s signature white varietal. Alamos Torrontés captures all of the explosive aromatic character of this Argentine grape, with lively notes of citrus and peach fruit interwoven with delicate layers of jasmine blossom and fresh herbs. The wine is light and fresh on the palate with excellent balance and finishing with bright, crisp acidity.” It has all the characteristics I like in other whites (fruity, rich, floral and herbal notes) rolled into this one varietal.

Turn to Torrontés for an unusual but delightful crowd-pleasing white wine that’s not Chardonnay (let Chardonnay have the night off for once). Let me know what you think! And if you’re in the Seattle area, wear your sunscreen!