Thursday, July 28, 2011

2009 Bodega Tamari Torrontes

I rarely sample torrontes, but during the hot summer months it remains high up on my list of wines that pair well with the weather. Tonight, I decided to cook up some chicken, rice, and broccoli, in part due to the hot weather we've had here in San Diego. Needing and wanting a dry, clean white wine led me to the 2009 Bodgea Tamari torrontes, a sample that I received several weeks ago.

If chardonnay is California's white grape, sauvignon blanc is New Zealand's, then torrontes is by far what Argentinian white wines are known for. While there are test vineyards of everything from riesling to pinot blanc in the country, the overwhelming amount of white grape acreage is devoted to torrontes. It's frequently referred to as one of the more aromatic white varietals and I can't help but agree.

With that in mind, a simple dinner of marinated chicken, rice, and veggies figures to pair very well with the '09 Tamari. Since I didn't have any light marinades at home, I had to make my own using olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, Provencal herbs, and champagne muscat vinegar. Add a touch of smoked salt and the marinade smelled heavenly. My organic chicken breasts needed about an hour or so to macerate and absorb as much flavor as possible, leaving me time to uncork and sample the wine.

Pouring a beautiful yellowish-green into my glass, I recalled one of my favorite things about looking at torrontes: it's always beautifully colored while sitting in a wine glass.

Aromatics are a big part of tasting wines, and if that's all I went on for this torrontes, it would be a dynamite wine. Bright, rich tropical fruit notes came at me almost immediately, followed closely by rose petal,  grapefruit, and tangerine. There is a brief hint of jasmine too, offering a nice foil to the ripe citrus and tropical aromas that are so strong here. At a few degrees below room temperature, smelling the Tamari is like smelling a cornucopia of your favorite summertime scents. Well, almost. Some of my favorite summertime scents also include bacon, grilled meat, and the ocean. None of which were present here but that's ok.

Tasting the 2009 Tamari torrontes further reinforced why I like this varietal so much. It offers clean acidity, a lush mid-palate of passion fruit and white peach, barest hints of white pepper, and a zingy serving of lemon pith to finish things off. Utterly delightful and in balance. There's no sense of sweetness because the acid restrains everything, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

At a suggested retail of $15 (real world retail is close to $10), this is a solid white for the entire summer. If you like sipping riesling, vinho verde, and sauvignon blanc during the hot months, give torrontes a try and seek out the 2009 Bodega Tamari torrontes. This wine makes clear why torrontes is such a popular grape in Argentina. 13.3% abv. 7,000 cases produced.  Highly Recommended!

This was a sample for review purposes.

Beau Carufel

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