The weather is finally turning warm, and it’s time to select a “house white” for the summer. You know, that inexpensive wine that you can buy by the case and always keep a bottle in the fridge for gulping on the patio while the coals heat up in the grill. Yeah, that kind of white.
I have two candidates this year, both Torrontés from Argentina. This is an obscure grape that hasn’t yet totally succumbed to replanting as Argentine wineries switch over to the more acceptable “international” varietals such as Chardonnay. Torrontés does not yield a particularly complex wine, but it can be quite refreshing. It has some floral aspects, peachy/lychee notes like a Viognier or Gewurztraminer, but more restrained. It makes a fun aperitif, and its bigger versions – which are not very big by any standard – match nicely with pungent cheeses such as muenster.
I’ll be stocking up on two Torrontés wines this summer: Santa Julia 2005 Torrontés ($8) from Mendoza is exuberant with the floral notes that make Gewurz lovers swoon, but is also dry enough to satisfy that grape’s detractors. (Well, maybe; it’s worth a try!) This a delightful quaffing wine from a line of bargain values produced by Famiglia Zuccardi winery. Anything by this winery is worth the price.
Also worth seeking out is Tittarelli Reserva 2005 Torrontés ($10). Here the floral notes are a little more restrained than in the Santa Julia, with some mineral character to give the wine a little backbone – a great pairing for your patio nosh.
Santa Julia is imported by Winesellers, Ltd., of Chicago. Tittarelli is imported by William-Harrison Imports of Manassas, Va.