Torrontés, the aromatic white varietal indigenous to Argentina, may well be one – if not the – most broadly food-friendly wines available today. In general, Torrontés are smooth, supple, and infinitely drinkable, with a moderate level of acidity that plays well with a wide range of edibles and the kind of refreshing nose and flavor profile that keeps even snooty sippers coming back for more. Bonus: Torrontés is pretty easy on the pocketbook.
Top 5 Torrontés Under $20:
Mendoza Station Torrontés, 2013 – $6
A $6 wine can be a scary thing, but much like Malbec (or at least Malbec before everyone realized how great a value Malbec is), you can find thoroughly delicious representations of Torrontés for some pretty eyebrow-raising prices. In this case, six bucks will buy you a wine that is fresh, crisp, and lightly perfumed with white flowers and apricot with a quick spritz of zesty citrus to accent the off-dry finish.
Phebus Torrontés, 2013 – $10
This wine is 100 percent Torrontés, zero percent oak, and completely classic. A great entry-level Torrontés, the simple-yet-supple combination of lemon, lime, and peach is easy and accessible without being cloying, and indeed the quick bite of acidity that appears towards the finish keeps things fresh and, dare we say, fun.
Bodegas Esmeralda Tilia Torrontés, 2011 – $11
Though Tilia’s bright citrus scent and crisp and zingy acidity might not immediately help to distinguish it from other wines of its ilk, the aromatic wreath of white flowers and oak-driven roundness at the end sets it very definitely apart. This might be a bit buttery for some palates, but for those used to bigger, bolder whites, there is some comfort to be found in a glass – or two – of Tilia.
Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontés, 2013 – $14
If you’re a fan of grassy Sauvignon Blancs, you’ll like this gentler, fruitier cousin. Those clean green notes you’ll smell upon popping the cork cohabitate beautifully with lashings of peach, juicy melon, and tropical tinges of pineapple and kiwi. The finish is long and strong, with a backbone that we hope helps doubters take this varietal a little more seriously. Balbo wines are known for vintage-to-vintage consistency, so you can nab this bottle off your supermarket shelf (availability is relatively wide) year after year without concern as to quality or quaffability.
Alta Vista Premium Torrontés, 2012 – $17
Several prominent reviewers have noticed this wine’s similarities to Viognier, undoubtedly due to the presence of honey, white flower, and peachy notes. That comparison would make this bottle a great gateway wine for Old World enthusiasts eager to try something new and exciting, but the Alta Vista’s dry, saline-touched finish and vibrant acidity is what will keep the coming back.