Torrontés (tore-on-TEZ)


Specialty of Argentina, where it can make beautifully aromatic, slightly viscous dry wines that are drunk as aperitifs. Yet torrontés is not a single variety, but three distinctly different ones all indigenous to Argentina: torrontés Mendocino (not highly thought of); torrontés Sanjuanino (also unexceptional, planted mostly in the province of San Juan); and torrontés Riojana (the most aromatic and highest quality torrontés, often grown in the high elevation vineyards of the province of Salta). DNA typing suggests that torrontés Riojana is a white skinned natural cross of muscat of Alexandria and the red grape mission (listán prieto), both of which had been brought to the Americas in the sixteenth century by Spanish missionaries and conquistadores. In Spain and Portugal, the name torrontés is used for several other distinctly different varieties, causing complete confusion.

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