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Wine Grape Varietals 101


What is Torrontés

The name Torrontés is used to refer to a number of different white grape varieties in Argentina, Spain and Portugal. Best known is the Torrontés Riojano variety, often referred to simply as Torrontés.

Torrontés Riojano is the most common variety, considered to be a national speciality in Argentina. In fact, it is one of the country’s most widely-planted white grape variety. Torrontés Riojano is a natural cross between Muscat of Alexandria and Criolla Chica, the latter better known as Mission in California. These wines are very aromatic and have naturally high acidity.

At their worst, Torrontés Riojano wines can be overly alcoholic, bitter, rough on the palate and lacking in acidity. The best Torrontés Riojano has intense aromatics of fruity and floral notes, are rich and medium-bodied and have balanced acidity. The high-altitude vineyards of the Salta province in northern Argentina are home to some of the best expressions of the grape, with the Cafayate region making particularly great wines. Producers in Mendoza and elsewhere also make exemplary Torrontés Riojano wines. These varieties are also found in La Rioja (not to be confused with Spain’s Rioja) and San Juan.

There are at least two other grapes in Argentina that bear the Torrontés name.

The first, Torrontés Sanjuanino, is grown in the San Juan province and in Chile, under the name Moscatel de Austria. Plantings of this variety are less significant than those of Torrontés Riojano, however, like Torrontés Riojano, Torrontés Sanjuanino is also a natural cross of the Muscat of Alexandria and Criolla Chica varieties. It is less aromatic, though both varieties are considered to show some Muscat-like aromas.

The second is Torrontés Mendocino, whose plantings are even smaller again. Torrontés Mendocino is most significant in the Río Negro province. It also counts Muscat of Alexandria as a parent, though its other parent is unknown. It does not have the Muscat-like aromas common to the other two Torrontés varieties.

In Spain alone, there are at least four individual grape varieties to whom the Torrontés name is applied. They can be found in the regions of Extramadura, Montilla-Moriles, Navarra and Ribeiro. In Portugal, Torrontes is a commonly-encountered synonym for many different wines.

For wines that bear strikingly similar resemblance to others in taste and name, it helps to lean on an expert for advice! Find top-rated Torrontés wines selected and reviewed by the professionals at Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Our database contains all the information you could want and need about Torrontés and other popular wines.

Torrontés grapes are found in sparkling, white, and dessert wines.

Structural Characteristics

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Alcohol levels
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Low Medium High
Tannin Structure
Low Medium High

Examples of Torrontés to Try

Handling Tips

45-55°F / 7-13°C
1-5 years