There's a secret to Torront?' success: high-altitude grapes.
These high-toned grapes definitely have reach. They're harvested from the Salta region in Argentina's Cafayate Valley, where the highest vineyard is at an astonishing 10,000 feet.
"As you can imagine, it's a bit of a hike to go check on the grapes during the growing season," said Felipe Stahlschmidt, winemaker for Alamos Winery in Argentina. "But this region's high altitudes translate to bright floral aromatics and delightfully crisp acidity in the wine."
Stahlschmidt is behind our wine-of-the-week winner -- the Alamos, 2013 Salta, Argentina Torront? at $13.
It's a terrific value for the quality, a refreshing quench as we move into the sun-kissed days of summer. It has a range of aromas, with high-toned citrus fruit and bright acidity.
Stahlschmidt said that preserving delicate aromas requires a gentle touch, from handpicking the grapes to fermenting at chilly temperatures.
"The result is a series of bright floral aromas like orange and jasmine blossom with a palate of citrus and peach flavors that lead to a crisp finish," he said.
What the uninitiated don't know about Torront? is that it's a signature grape of Argentina.
"Torront? is an important symbol of winemaking in Argentina as we are one of the few countries around the globe that grows and produces this aromatic grape," Stahlschmidt said.
The winemaker said Torront? is definitely his favorite white to work with, even though it's challenging to make, because the results make it worth it.
"Just as malbec offers a window into wine from Argentina, Torront? is the white wine ambassador for my country and I am proud to make this wine," he said.
<i>Want to share a current wine on your favorite restaurant's list? E-mail Peg Melnik at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her Tasting Room blog at tastingroom.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.</i>
<strong> Wine of the Week: Scouting for the tastiest white wines</strong>
Wine writer Peg Melnik had a blind tasting this week of top-flight whites, from a Argentine Torront? to sauvignon blancs to chardonnays. Our wine-of-the-week winner is the Alamos, 2013 Salta, Argentina Torront?, at the budget-savvy price of $13.
<strong>TOP PICK: Alamos</strong>
<strong>Alamos, 2013 Salta, Argentina Torront?,</strong> 13 percent alcohol, $13. 4 stars. This is a terrific value for the quality and a perfect pick as we move into summer and long for a refreshing quench. Floral, with high-toned citrus fruit and bright acidity. Striking.
<strong>Other impressive wines:</strong>
<strong> Ramey, 2011 Russian River Valley Chardonnay,</strong> 14.5 percent, $40. 4 1/2 stars. A lush chardonnay with depth. Notes of apple, pear and cr?e brulee. Lingering finish. Knockout.
<strong>La Crema, 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay,</strong> 13.5 percent, $30. 4 stars. A gorgeous chardonnay with a winning combination of stone fruit and bright acidity. There's also honeysuckle and butterscotch in the mix. Complex and absolutely lovely.
<strong>Groth, 2012 Hillview Vineyard, Napa Valley Chardonnay,</strong> 14.3 percent, $30. 3 1/2 stars. A chardonnay lover's chardonnay. It's toasty, with aromas and flavors of ripe apple and pear. It's creamy in texture, and has nice depth.
<strong>Picket Fence, 2012 Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc,</strong> 13.5 percent alcohol, $16. 3 1/2 stars. Refreshing, with notes of grapefruit and mineral. Bright acidity. Crisp finish. A steal for the price.