Some will say that, on this trip, I spend way too much attention to Torrontés with regards to my exam as the likeliness for it to show in June is actually very small.
Well, I will say that sometimes, we must mix business with pleasure to keep the passion going! As I mentioned in a previous post, I am not ashamed to say that I love the grape. This tasting was worth the time & resources as I discovered my top favorite after tasting and tasting a innumerable amount, most, frankly disappointing.
This flight, however has mixed results. The good news though is that now, I perfectly well know which gives me excellent pleasure.
The wines tasted were:
Colomé Salta Torrontés 2014
San Pedro de Yacochuya Salta Torrontés 2013
El Porvenir De Cafayate Laborum Salta Torrontés 2014
Finca Gabrielli Mendoza Torrontés 2013
All wines high in acidity and Colomé and San Pedro clearly aromatic with bursting and vibrant notes of jasmine, rose petals, and orange blossom. Colomé, El Porvenir & Gabrielli are pale in color with theColomé and Gabrielli showing green hues versus the other showing lemon hues. All consistent with grape so far. San Pedro is rather deep in color which is surprising, but on the palate, it comes together: the fruit is rather ripe, plush, and tropical in character yet has, as have all the other ones, a "muscaty" finish clearly supporting Torrontés.
All wines show mid-weight on the mid-palate with alcohol ranging from 13.5 to 14%. Only El Porvenir shows any kind of oak and malolactic fermentation. Which might explain why its nose is more subdued displaying hazelnut notes and a certain rich creaminess of texture. The others are fresh & vibrant both in aromas and texture clearly indicating stainless steel vessels throughout production which is the consistent handling with this aromatic grape. Gabrielli, closed under screwcap, is rather reductive in character with clear notes of struck match that lasted well beyond 15 minutes in the glass indicative of superlative inertage during production and perhaps a little too much so2 before bottling.
Colomé and San Pedro are both from the highest vineyards of the 4 with the former made from grapes picked at 3,100 and 1,700 meters and the latter at 2,034 meters. Suprisingly however, San Pedro is the ripest of them all showing a richness from fruit ripening rather than from oak as El Porvenir with and aromas of pineapple, orange, and a slight bitterness coming to the fore. This indicates, surely, very sunny conditions and perhaps an extended length of grape maturation on the vine. Yet, it is crisp with lip-smacking acidity consistent with hot sunny days and cold nights found in high altitude terroirs.
However, it is Colomé that shows its high-altitude origin the best. It is brilliantly vibrant with an absolutely beautiful, ethereal lightness on the mid-palate. Showing delicate but complex white flowers, jasmine and orange blossom with a crisp acidity and the lowest alcohol level of the 4, it is clearly picked at optimum maturation. Its balance of crisp acidity and light alcohol is delightful and its length everlasting and mineral. Clearly, my favorite of the 4. Perhaps also the best of all of those I have tasted as far as I can recall...
As a previous post indicated, I do not believe these wines can age for much longer than they have except perhaps for Colomé and San Pedro. But what would be the point? Here, the emphasis is on the aromatic and ethereal character of the grape and to be enjoyed to the full extent, these wines should be drunk as young as possible.
As much as I have warm feelings towards the very kind people of El Porvenir, I am affraid that I can not see what is the point of barrel fermenting and maturing the wine in oak other than to give it a texture somewhat similar to Chardonnay while losing its freshness, aromatics, and little "je-ne-sais-quoi" that make Torrontés what it is. As for the Finca Gabrielli, I find that the extreme reductive handling has defeated the purpose of the procedure, to say the least.