Torrontes Grape in Australia

by John Menator
(Adelaide SA)

John Writes:


A friend in Canada is interested in Torrontes white wine.


I understand the wine is Argentinian.


My knowledge of Argentinian wine is microscopic and apart from Malbec I know nothing about their other varieties.


So my questions are:


  • Are Torrontes grapes grown in Australia?

  • If so, where are they grown?

  • Langhorne Creek grows some great Malbec, so by extension is Torrontes grapes a possibility for this SA region?



Appreciate any information that you may have.


Cheers,


John

Darby Replies


Yes John, Torrontes is from Argentina and in fact there are separate three varieties - Torrontes Riojano, Torrontes Mendocino, and Torrontes San Juanito. The first is by far the most common. Just to add to the confusion unrelated varieties such as Malvasia Fina are called 'Torrontes' in some parts of the world. Small amounts of Torrontes are grown in neighbouring counties of Chile, Peru and Uruguay.


Torrontes wines are fresh and aromatic, especially those from higher altitudes. They are often made as varietals but are also used to add flavour in blends.



There are a couple of wineries that I know about who are interested in the variety, namely Red Earth Estate in the Western Plains
Zone of NSW and St Ignatius winery at Avoca in Western Victoria. I am not sure if they are making wine with these varieties yet.


Torrontes is an early ripening variety so my feeling is that it would probably best if was grown in cooler regions, even though the pioneers are in warmer regions. This allows the grapes to ripen slowly after the summer heat thus allowing for better flavour development. As far as I know nobody is trying it in cooler regions of Australia.

Your analogy with Malbec is not particularly apt. The climatic range in Argentina is great and the vineyards producing the best Torrontes are in the foothills of the Andes.

I'd welcome any comments or feedback from other readers. Maybe you know of other growers of Torrontes. Please use the comment form below.

Comments for Torrontes Grape in Australia

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Aug 22, 2016
The Argentinian Cultivar
by: Enrique Diaz

TORRONTES - THE ARGENTINE CULTIVAR
The cultivar ‘Torrontés Riojano’ (Vitis vinifera L.) was derived from a cross of ‘Muscat of Alexandria’ and ‘Criolla Chica’ of Argentina.
Being Argentina the only country that grew the variety commercially in the past, the wine variety was considered 100% Argentine. Torrontés is cultivated in all the wine regions of Argentina from Salta (North) to Rio Negro (Patagonia) along the Andes giving birth to a rainbow of styles.


There are three types of Torrontés: Riojano, Sanjuanino and Mendocino. The Riojana clonal variety (the clone St Ignatius have introduced), is the most representative of the three, is used to make the Cafayate Torrontés (from Salta) and, of course, the La Rioja wines. Wines made with this variety have received many international awards because its taste - so different from other white wines - has seduced wine tasters around the world. Noticeably Torrontes was consider a popular varietal of lesser significance, nowadays elevated its status because of clonal selection, growing methods and winemaking practices/styles.


Its origin has been an issue of broad-ranging discussion amongst many wine experts, but its relationship to the Europe Mediterranean Muscat is undeniable. A proof of this bond is its fragrant and unmistakable aroma, resembling roses, jasmine and geranium, with occasional spicy essences. The first cultivation of Torrontés dates back from the times of the Spanish Conquerors. At least for the last 20 years, it has been elaborated as sparkling and fortified wine, with excellent results in both cases.


Torrontés produces a unique symbiosis with spicy food and Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai dishes. It pairs marvellously with Northern Argentinean food, such as the typical 'empanadas' and 'corn stew' that we have the luxury to eat in Avoca.


It was first introduced in Australia by St Ignatius Vineyard AVOCA VICTORIA in the year 2000 from cuttings donated by Cooperative La Riojana.


After its introduction and suffering a setback of 10 years by ‘The biggest drought in living memory’ we’ve recently started to propagate and replant it with the aim to pioneer its commercialisation now with the ‘terroir of the Australian Pyrenees (GI)’ and as it is obvious to remember the smells of childhood.


Our vintages are still limited but are continuously undertaking new planting. It only took as 20 years … One thing is true: IT TASTE DELICIOUS!
Cheers,
Silvia & Enrique Diaz
Vignerons & Winemakers
ST IGNATIUS VINEYARD
www.stignatiuswines.com


Mar 12, 2016
Loving it !
by: Geoff

I recently purchased some Argentinian Torrontes - not having heard of it before - and must say I'm delighted and shall hunt down more


The description is accurate - aromatic , full mouth feel and a nice crisp finish


Some features reminiscent of Viognier ( nose/aromatics) and similar to a SSB

Great with seafood or just for summer quaffing !


Aug 14, 2015
Grown elsewhere
by: Cyan von Gija

Here in Wodonga, North East Victoria we are growing this flavoursome variety with expected small releases in 2 years under Bunyip Hollow label

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