Dishes with untraditional flavor combinations are wine pairings’ most complex conundrum. It’s also an increasingly common one, given the rise in popularity of menus emphasizing fusion and the culinary world’s constant search for the next niche ingredient.
Due to the diversity in the nature of these dishes, we’re often left us scratching our heads when it comes to what we should serve with dinner. Things get even more complicated when you consider that traditional pairings are often European-centric. Even today in the professional realm, a common question asked of aspiring sommeliers is, “What would you pair with spices like curry?” The answer isn’t always clear.
We’re here to help, with wines that complement a wide range of flavors. Enter Argentina’s pride and joy, a white wine varietal and sibling to the country’s esteemed Malbec, Torrontés. A unique, warm–climate grape, Torrontés reads like the love child of a fresh fruit salad and a bouquet of wildflowers. Slightly sweet on the nose, the light, well-balanced palate feel creates surprising complexity through more citrus–centric, tongue–tingling pep.
Due it its aromatic nature, the wine, when served crisply chilled as it is intended, does not overwhelm. Its sweet florals do well to counterbalance the understood intensity of spiced dishes and airs light enough to act as envoy to the palate. It is a youthful, fresh wine meant to be enjoyed within three to five years of its bottling.
For those looking to elevate the intensity of a traditionally enjoyed Pinot Grigio or seeking a break from their go–to Sauvignon Blanc, Torrontés occupies a unique middle ground that will please both sides of the spectrum. Don’t look for butter, oak, or caramel notes here, this is a flora and fauna lover’s delight.
Our advice? Call up the local Thai restaurant, make it a curry night, or get your fusion on as you enjoy one of our top picks below, recommended by Wine Enthusiast writers at large Jesica Vargas and Matt Kettman.
Amalaya 2021 White (Salta)
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 87 Points
This Torrontés-dominant blend with a touch of Riesling gives up lychee, lemon peel and white flowers on the nose. The palate is a bit more austere, with some citrus notes and racy acidity. It’s light in weight and good for a hot afternoon. Best Buy —Jesica Vargas$10 Vivino
Bodega de Edgar 2020 La Guera White (Central Coast)
Piattelli 2021 Torrontés (Salta)
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 88 Points
White grapefruit, lemon zest and white peach are on the nose of this refreshing wine. The palate presents more citrus and herbaceous flavors followed by nice acidity, leading to a lingering citrus-driven finish. —J.V.$16 Wine.com
Tercos 2021 Torrontés (Mendoza)
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 85 Points
Intense citrus aromas of lime and orange zest, along with peppercorn and a light note of sweet spice, are on the nose. On the palate are exotic fruit, lime, and melon. It has light acidity and a lingering finish. —J.V.$14 Wine-Searcher
Colomé 2021 Torrontés (Salta)
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 90 Points
This wine shows great varietal typicity with an aromatic nose of geranium flower, white peach, and citrus fruit. It has nice acidity with subtle herbaceous notes and green apple, linden tea and stone fruit flavors. It has a bitter, but pleasant finish. Best Buy —J.V.$13 Wine.com
Santa Julia 2021 [+] Torrontés (Mendoza)
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 88 Points
With tropical fruit and subtle flower notes on the nose, this Torrontés is very approachable. It is not as wild as other wines from this variety, featuring stone fruit flavors and mineral character on the palate. It’s a lean, light-bodied wine with nice acidity and a clean finish. —J.V.$13
Last Updated: June 6, 2023