Saturday, August 9, 2008

We Have a Winner!

In response to Thursday's quiz, Roger Emanuels of Santa Cruz, California, correctly identified the characteristic wines of Argentina: the red Malbec (from Mendoza province) and the dry but fruity white Torrontés (from Salta province). He wins a copy of Moon Handbooks Argentina.

A minor grape in its Bordeaux homeland, where it's usually used in blends, Malbec has become Argentina's signature wine export. Mendoza's dry climate and high heat bring it to perfection.

Torrontés, by contrast, is a high altitude grape that benefits from warm days and cool nights to reach its peak, so to speak - at Bodega Colomé, near the hamlet of Molinos, the vines thrive at nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, though one Uruguayan grower cultivates them only slightly above sea level. Most of the best Torrontés comes from slightly lower altitudes near the town of Cafayate. One enthusiastic French grower I met there suggested that consuming Torrontés was like "drinking the grape." At home, it's our preferred white.

In North America, Malbec is now pretty easy to find, Torrontés rather less so, but both are worth seeking out. Meanwhile, be on the lookout for future contests and giveaways on this blog.

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