jamie goode's wine blog: What a scorcher, and some Torrontes

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What a scorcher, and some Torrontes

It has been one of those very rare scorching hot days in London, with bright blue skies, a light breeze, and temperatures in the upper twenties. I headed up to the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, near London Bridge, for a tasting of 28 Torrontes wines for Wine & Spirit, and because of the beautiful weather I decided to walk rather than take the tube from Waterloo.

The walk, along the south bank of the Thames, is a pleasant one, and takes around 35 minutes. It passes the Tate Modern, with the famous Millennium footbridge across to St Pauls (see picture). This was the one that opened in June 2000, but was closed after three days because of a phenomenon known as synchronous lateral excitation. Basically, it wobbled. The problem took 89 dampners and 5 million to fix before the bridge was reopened in 2002.

What was the Torrontes like? A little disappointing, if I'm going to be really honest. Quite a lot of the wines had some pithy bitterness on the finish, which wasn't all that nice. Some were pretty and floral, with grapey fruit. Others were a bit oily and pungent. Argentina doesn't do whites all that well, in my opinion. I'm not sure why, because I really like many Argentinean reds.

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At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

Torrontes lacks any balancing acidity; it probably needs to be blended with Chenin or Chardonnay.

The best (and worst) Torrontes I ever tasted was that made by the wonderfully eccentric Antonio Cabezas (one of the "heroes" of Jonathan Nossiter's film, Mondovino). He makes a tiny quantity of extraordinary ripe, viscous, yet mineral Torrontes - weighing in at a eye-crunching 16.4%. When asked how he made his wines he said, "I make the whites first, followed by the reds (a Malbec, as it happens. When questioned why he asserted simply: "If you make the red first then you have to clean out the tank!"

Alas, because he has so little money he writes the labels by hand and (this is the awful bit) cuts the cork in half with a pocket knife in order to save on costs. As a result every other bottle is corked, oxidised, you name it - but the wine behind is potentially incredible. It is one of the few corked bottles I have ever finished!

At 12:59 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Doug, that sounds wonderful, except the bit about the corks.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Vince Meldrum said...

Too bad about the Torrontes -- I have had some really good luck with the last Torrontes I had. It was a Gimenez Rili 2005. Great stuff really, but one of those wines only made in small quantities and then hard to find.

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks Vince. Will keep my eyes peeled.


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