I have never been to Salta, but torrontés might change that. The white grape, which I first tasted in Mendoza last year, has quickly become my favorite white. It’s the one wine I pair with almost anything now: sushi, cheese, paté, duck, grilled shrimp, and even fish tacos. It serves as a cleanser and can calm down your palate with spicy Asian and Latin foods. On a sunny day, a chilled glass of torrontés – with its hints of grapefruit, elderflower, and apricot – is as smooth and refreshing as any wine I’ve ever had. It’s the same feeling as cracking open a frosty cold beer after an exhausting day.
n Torrontés, from Argentina (Wines of The Times) the New York Times proclaims that torrontés, one of Argentina’s other blossoming white wines (another is viognier) has begun to take the United States by storm. In 2004, less than 30,00 cases of torrontés were exported to the U.S. In 2010, that number ballooned to 231,000 cases, the Times reports via Wines of Argentina.
Malbec grapes grow in Argentina like nowhere else on earth; just as grass fed cows have no prettier place to graze than on the country’s endless plains. These are two iconic elements of the country. On their own they spin legends, but pair the two and this is where they form something special. Something only experienced in Argentina.
I’ve only recently discovered the brilliant adjoined stores Puro Chile and Puro Wine in New York’s Soho. While Puro Wine focuses on selling premium Chilean wines, Puro Chile sells an array of high quality Chilean products – olive oils, wool sweaters, photo books, and handicrafts. Combined they are a powerful tool for promotion. Last night they held “A Taste of Chile,” which was put on by Wines of Chile. A number of wines, served by bartenders in miner outfits, were available from four different regions: the Casablanca Valley, Elqui & Limari Valleys, Maipo Valley, and Colchagua Valley. Their were several wines I had yet to try so I pleased to have the opportunity for so much Chile in one place.
While Chardonnay and to a lesser extent Torrentes and Sauvignon Blanc are almost always given the nod as South America’s favorite white wines, dry, refreshing Viognier is slowly carving out a name for itself. It pairs well with shellfish, seafood, sushi, and even curry and the wine is drunk best young.
Michael Evans, the co-founder of Vines of Mendoza – a wine entrepreneurship program in Argentina’s Uco Valley near Mendoza – isn’t just an entrepreneur. He’s also a photographer. I caught wind of some of his images from his vineyards in Mendoza that he shot recently during the Argentine winter and he was kind enough to allow me to post them here. It’s far from the vineyard seen you usually see.
Cookbook Author, Tour Leader, and Foodie Liz Caskey is a resident of Santiago, Chile, which felt the effects of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred this past Saturday February 27th. At the time of writing, more than 700 people have been reported killed in the quake and aftershocks have continued to frighten residents. The epicenter of the quake happened off the coast of Maule, not far from the city of Concepción, which has seen the most damage. Media reports in the United States keep referring to the devastation in Southern Chile (in my opinion Southern Chile starts south of Temuco) and give the impression of a total collapse of infrastructure. Here Caskey answers a few questions about what is actually going on:
I first heard about groups of armed gunmen robbing the luxury resort hotels in Argentine Wine Country in late 2008, when the raids seemed to be at their peak. I soon learned that the robberies in Mendoza had been going on since 2006 and recently discovered that they have continued as recently as this January.
As a preview of our forthcoming interview with Vines of Mendoza co-founder Michael Evans, we asked Vines of Mendoza to provide a few Argentine wine picks for the holiday season. Mendoza born Pablo Gimenez Riili, the private vineyard estate’s other founder and President, has provided six choices from the Mendoza area. All of these wines are available online from The Vines Wine Shop, a division of The Vines of Mendoza.