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Posts Tagged ‘Torrontes’

Let’s Rock!

That’s the expression that runs through my head each time I come face-to-face with an unfamiliar bottle of wine.  Although I love trying new wines, there’s always that tucked away thought or prayer just before venturing into the great unknown: “Please Lord, let this wine be great and have it scatter my taste buds into a million tiny pieces!”

A new white and a new red:  “Please don’t let me down tonight” were my final words before diving into these two unknowns.

First on deck was the 2008 Tierra de Luna Torrontes from Mendoza, Argentina ($9.99)This wine comes from a very large and widely known producer – François Lurton.  I selected this Torrontes for three main reasons:

1.)     I love Argentine Torrontes so much; I’d pretty much swim in them if I could.

2.)     François Lurton is a widely known and usually reliable wine producer with operations all over the globe.

3.)     Back to reason #1, but add that it’s “Game on!” for any Argentine Torrontes under $20 US.

Unfortunately, it just didn’t rock my world.  The 2008 Tierra de Luna Torrontes lacked the big muscular and floral notes that let the drinker know that this is Argentine Torrontes.  Instead, the signature floral notes were abandoned and substituted with an overpowering oaky component.  The big, fresh acidity customary for this wine was discarded in favor of an earthy-metallic and muted tropical profile.  The finish?  Well, there’s little to talk about.  I gave the 2008 Tierra de Luna Torrontes three days in my fridge in hopes that it would come out of its shell and deliver my taste buds a strong message.  Between the burning wood and subtle pina-colada flavors stirring around in my glass, there was a big disconnect.        

2 Stars out of 4. 

“All hands on Deck,”  I yelled.  I need a red wine to come to my rescue immediately!  In walks the 2005 Old Patch Red ($12) from Sonoma’s Trentadue Winery. This red wine sounded quite yummy and interesting based on its back label.

“For over 30 years our Old Patch Red blend has been consistently one [of] the finest California bargains, highly praised by wine media and consumers.  In 2005 the blend is 70% Zin, 20% Petite Sirah, 5.5% Carignane and 4.5% Syrah… This is a delicious “bistro” style blend with abundant jammy berry flavors, black cherry and plums.  Peppery and spicy.  Moderate use of oak completes its juicy and pure mouth feel.”

Now, doesn’t that sound terrific?

Things started out just fine:  the 2005 Old Patch Red smelled quite nice, and I thought that maybe it would truly be a delicious “bistro” style blend, as the back label suggested!  Sadly, I can’t say that it was.  I tried this wine in my own “home bistro” with a plate of heaping pasta, sautéed mushrooms, and Italian hot sausage and alas, no pleasant imagery of dining al fresco or good cheers could be mustered up.

The 2005 Old Patch Red starts and finishes the same way:  somewhat sweet with an odd effervescent mouth-feel.  I was wondering whether it was a soft drink or a wine.  Like the 2008 Tierra de Luna Torrontes, I was stumped by this wine’s strange qualities.

2 Stars out of 4.  I like Coca-Cola, Cherry Coke, and Dr. Pepper – just not all mixed together.

Oh Baby…What a Terrible Fall!

In the immortal words of ABC’s Wide World of Sports announcer Jim McKay,

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat…

 

Was I so naïve to think that it was impossible to have a bad Argentinian Torrontes wine?  I know it must have been foolish thinking on my part, but it almost seemed automatic that whether it cost 8, 10, or even 20 dollars – I knew I was going to have a beautifully floral, fresh and electrifyingly acidic bottle of wine.  I believed this because I’ve been batting nearly a thousand with this fantastic type of wine for over a year.  With this in mind, I was really looking forward to opening the 2009 San Telmo Esencia Torrontes. 

As the saying goes, “there’s a first for everything” and inevitably I would have to taste the agony of defeat with my beloved white wine.  The 2009 San Telmo Esencia Torrontes really let me down.  It’s odd, uneven, lacks mile-high acidity and possesses tropical banana and coconut flavors that reminded me more of Tropical Flavored LifeSavers (in a bad way).  Incidentally, it also didn’t possess the signature floral bouquet of Torrontes wine.  Crash!

 

1 Star out of 4.  Shaken by the experience, but not deterred.
(Price: $8.99)

Don’t Give Up On A Good Thing

You gotta love Trader Joe’s!  I recently came across their Tilapia Citronette, and it has quickly become one of my favorites.  If you’re not familiar with this dish – its marinated tilapia fillets topped with grilled asparagus and sliced carrots.  However, I just have one little problem with it – the cooking directions.  The peeps at Trader Joe’s say that you can either nuke this dish or cook it in the oven.  Nuking this entree, per the instructions, makes the fish taste more like rubber chicken and the oven directions take way too long.

Luckily, I did not give up on this tasty dish even after having less than stellar results using their instructions.  I think that I may have struck gold, though, by using a combination of both suggested methods with my own little spin on them!

First, poke a few holes in the plastic and cook it in the microwave for about six minutes.  This will thaw it out a bit and get it ready for oven cooking.

I have 2 different recommendations for completion:

1.  Pan sear it a bit on the stovetop and then finish it off by placing it in a 385 degree oven for about 12 minutes.

 -OR-

2.  After taking it out of the microwave, cook it up on a medium/high heat stovetop for about 2 minutes on each side.

Either way works perfectly and yields the warm, white, flaky decadence that’s pictured on the packaging label.  Just remember, with either option, to coat your pan with plenty of olive oil to keep the fish from becoming permanently affixed to it forever!

Finally, to give this dish the Love TKO, serve this up on a dinner plate over an arugula salad.  While you’re at Trader Joe’s pick up a bag of baby arugula.  In a mixing bowl – Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt –n- pepper, and the arugula.  Mix together.

On a dinner plate, place a portion of the “arugula salad” down first.  Then top it with the Tilapia Citronette.  Pair it with an Argentinean Torrontes like the 2009 Alamos Torrontes and you’ve got a party!  If you want a little something extra, you can also add your choice of steamed vegetables.

Salud!

A Few Winners of Our Own

Like a lot of other people this past Sunday night, we were glued to the TV set sayin’, “Man, she looks terrible!” or “Wow, she looks really great!”  We were also wondering if James Cameron and Jon Landau’s 10 year project, “Avatar”, would runaway with all of the Oscar trophies.  But just like so many other past Oscar nights, there was that dark horse in the bunch that surprised everyone.  This year, it was a night to remember for the folks involved with the film “The Hurt Locker”, which won six Academy Awards including “Best Picture”.

As we watched “The Hurt Locker” put a hurtin’ on fellow nominees, we were putting a hurtin’ on a couple great bottles of wine!

The first of the evening was the 2009 Finca La Linda Torrontes bottled by Luigi Bosca.  This wine was produced in Argentina and consists of 100% Torrontes grape.  Torrontes is the wonderful and distinctively aromatic signature white grape of Argentina.  If you’ve never tried a Torrontes before, this one will certainly make a great first impression on you!  There’s a lot of interesting layers of flavors swirling around in this wine.  It’s a bombshell of racy, crisp acidity, packed full of tropical flavors, that reminded me of a Pina Colada.  The 2009 Finca La Linda Torrontes was a big winner and left us wanting more.  Costing less than $10, it secures a lofty 4 star WineLife365 taste rating and also earned itself many repeat visits as the weather in our neck of the woods continues to warm up.

Next up was the 2006 La Corte Solyss Negroamaro.  This red wine is from the South of Italy in the Puglia (Apulia) region.  Negroamaro, also known as Negro amaro, is one of the most widely planted native red grapes grown in the Southern regions of Italy.  It’s grown almost exclusively in Puglia (Apulia) and also in Salento, which is located at the “heel” of Italy.  The Negroamaro grape and the winemakers in this region tend to allow these wines to express rustic, earthy, and natural tasting characteristics.  This particular Old World red showcases some really interesting mineral, herbaceous and cherry twists that will undoubtedly make you question whether you’re a fan of it or not.  We were fans of 2006 La Corte Solyss Negroamaro and give it 3 stars out of 4 on our taste scale.  One final note on this wine – I paid $12 for it at a local retailer, but I’ve seen it as high as $25 online.  I’m not sure whether or not I’d be willing to fork over 25 bones for it, but if you can find it for less than $20, it’s certainly worth a shot!

With the 2010 Oscars behind us, I can’t say that there were many moments that will replay in my mind for any length of time.  However, I did find some winners that will have repeat performances in my glass.

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