No Golds but an encouraging performance from a grape that is still largely finding its feet in the on-trade

Perhaps the most niche of all the white varietal categories, judges have, in the past, shown everything from enthusiasm to the kind of aversion demonstrated by vampires towards sunlight. And while this category failed to trouble the Gold List for the second year on the trot, it certainly performed better than last year, with a Silver and three Bronzes – four times as many medals as 2010’s effort.

The tasters were looking for wines that had a bit of elegance and balance, with evident varietal character but not too overblown, so that they could work both as an aperitif and also with food. This is not an easy combination to achieve in a grape that requires little encouragement to move into Julian Clary-like levels of OTT campness.

‘For a £9–10 Torrontés, I expect true varietal expression. Some wines delivered and others didn’t,’ said Roka’s Kelvin McCabe. ‘Torrontés can be a very intensely aromatic variety, in either a lighter, fresher style or a really intense honeyed style, and you need
to find a balance between the two.’

While four medals was not a bad return for Torrontés, putting it on a par with Viognier, Chenin and Semillon, and suggesting that the wines are improving, the
tasters generally felt that this is a category that needs to deliver at lower prices until
it gains consumer recognition.

‘Gewürztraminer is the more commercial proposition on the list,’ said The
Vineyard’s James Hocking.

And while the Trapiche was qualitatively deserving of a Gold – ‘fresh and clean, with some grapiness’, as one taster put it – after much discussion it was felt that its price would make it a difficult sell and therefore something of an indulgence within the limited places on the Gold List. Unlucky, in other words.

“The mid-priced wines worked best, showing some elegance. ” Dominique Raclin, Dans le Noir


Trapiche Broquel Torrontes 2010, Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina
£8.93 @ John E Fells & sons
With fruit salad and tart tropical fruit flavours, this has poise and depth. ‘Complex, combining grapiness and subtle vegetal nose with fresh moderate acidity and good length,’ said Team Leader Peter McCombie MW.


Finca La Colonia Torrontes 2010, Mendoza, Argentina
£4.65 @ Berkmann Wine Cellars
Highly aromatic, with notes of orange bitters, lychee and rose petal on a well-balanced, fruity palate. ‘Grapey but reasonably restrained. Quite dry but soft,’ said Peter McCombie MW. ‘Good “by-the-glass” material,’ said Team Leader Susanna Forbes.

Andeluna Torrontes 2010, Uco Valley, Argentina
£6.80 @ Novum Wines
Lime and apple on a fresh, elegant nose, with well-judged citrus flavours on the palate. Nicola Thomson picked up ‘fresh greengage and lovely minerality’.

Colome Torrontes 2010, Calchaqui Valley, Salta, Argentina
£6.95 @ Enotria
Delicate and fragrant with persistent lychee, soft rose petal and mineral hints. With complexity and depth, Kelvin McCabe deemed this ‘excellent’.

Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine – May/June 2011

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