Two Great Patio Whites from Argentina

The weather is finally turning warm, and
it’s time to select a “house white” for the summer. You know, that
inexpensive wine that you can buy by the case and always keep a bottle
in the fridge for gulping on the patio while the coals heat up in the
grill. Yeah, that kind of white.
I have two candidates this year, both Torrontés from Argentina. This is
an obscure grape that hasn’t yet totally succumbed to replanting as
Argentine wineries switch over to the more acceptable
“international” varietals such as Chardonnay. TorrontĂ©s does not
yield a particularly complex wine, but it can be quite refreshing. It
has some floral aspects, peachy/lychee notes like a Viognier or
Gewurztraminer, but more restrained. It makes a fun aperitif, and its
bigger versions – which are not very big by any standard – match
nicely with pungent cheeses such as muenster.
I’ll be stocking up on two Torrontés wines this summer: Santa Julia 2005 Torrontés ($8)
from Mendoza is exuberant with the floral notes that make Gewurz lovers
swoon, but is also dry enough to satisfy that grape’s detractors.
(Well, maybe; it’s worth a try!) This a delightful quaffing wine from a
line of bargain values produced by Famiglia Zuccardi winery. Anything
by this winery is worth the price.
Also worth seeking out is Tittarelli Reserva 2005 Torrontés ($10).
Here the floral notes are a little more restrained than in the Santa
Julia, with some mineral character to give the wine a little backbone
– a great pairing for your patio nosh.
Santa Julia is imported by Winesellers, Ltd., of Chicago. Tittarelli is imported by William-Harrison Imports of Manassas, Va.

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