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.

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