Monday, October 7, 2013

Salta, Argentina: more grapes (Torrontés) with altitude and attitude

Recently I enjoyed this Yauquen Torrontés from Bodega Ruca Malen and didn't recognize the Salta region of Argentina. Mendoza yes, Salta no.   The area is located in the northwestern portion of the country bordering Chile, Bolivia and Paraguay and consists of three main viticulture areas: Cafayate, Santa María and Colomé. In the valleys, olives, maize, and tobacco dominate the landscape, yet vineyards appear once the elevation produces cooler nights to offset the brutal daily heat. And eventually, these mountainous regions hosts some of the highest vineyards in the world, ranging from 5,000 to 6,500 feet above sea level - similar to some of the highest vineyards in Colorado. However, for the most extreme, head to Bodega Colomé and their Altura Máxima vineyard which resides at 10,027 feet above sea level. Oxygen mask anyone?

As the picture suggests, Torrontés is the jewel of Salta - and represents its largest planted grape variety - although in total - this area produces less than 2% to total Argentinean wine production. Because of it's elevation, Torrontés from Salta are known for their inherent acidity as well as what a read, a "perfumed" aroma. The Yauquen displayed this acidity with less "perfume" and more citrus aroma and flavor. Great value at $12 particularly when acknowledging the transportation costs down the mountains. Looking forward to visiting one day. Cheers.

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