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Exploring Torrontes
Torrontes is a combination of two grapes – a muscat and the Mission Grape of Valencia

The Chardonnay grape might arguably be the most popular white wine grape in the United States, but venture south of the border and the white wine grape of choice becomes Torrontes.

Torrontes is a combination of two grapes – a muscat and the Mission Grape of Valencia. It remains a popular varietal in its homeland of Spain, but has gained widespread popularity in Argentina.

From Bodega Colome, an old vine property with roots stretching into the early 1800s, comes its 2008 Torrontes that stands dryly against its typical competitors. A lush, tropical nose is inviting – the wine’s subsequent dry palate masked usual Torrontes characteristics. It was an enjoyable sipper, but lacked the character of bodegas’ hallmark Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon – the vines of which were transplanted from Bordeaux, France, (pre–phylloxera ) in 1854.

I got a nose full of citrus and white peach from Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Reserva Torront s 2010. Obviously, the aromas are all about the fruit – grapefruit, white peach and a veritable fruit salad of scents. The wine pours clean and refreshing across the palate – finishing with a smack of acid that leaves your mouth watering for another sip, another bite – another encounter with this exotic Argentine beauty.

Torrontes should be slightly chilled but not icy. Count on $12–$15 for a very good Torrontes – many can be found for as little as $6.99.

Stolpman dinner

As promised, the full menu for dinner with Stolpman Vineyards owner Pete Stolpman at Sandfly’s Wright Square Cafe are posted to my website, Six wines, four courses, $75 pp++. Monday, April 25, 6:30 p.m. Reservations, call 349–6165.

St. Bernardus

Marsahll Urstadt of Chiriya Thai Cuisine has planned another of his extraordinary Belgian beer dinners – this time featuring beers from St. Bernardus. These are always lots of fun with good beer, good food, door prizes and like–minded beer lovers. 7 beers, 5 courses, Sun., May 15, 6 p.m. $50 pp++. Reservations, call 303–0555.