I had run out of ideas. From zinfandels, chardonnays, pinot grigios and pinot noirs, I was at a loss for wine. It was Wednesday evening, and deadline was encroaching. I needed some help, so I took to Twitter to crowdsource which varietal of wine to drink for this week.
Although I would like to announce the attempt was successful, it was in fact the opposite. A big thank you to The Maine Campus’ own Photo Editor, Aley Lewis, for recommending Budweiser. You’re cute. A couple other suggestions included boxed wine or whatever happened to be on super-clearance for the week. Please, people, I still have some self-respect. My attempt only managed to nab two legitimate suggestions: a pinot grigio and a German gewurztraminer. I haven’t been able to look at pinot grigio the same way since Villa Pozzi broke my heart in October, so I took to the wine aisle to find the latter.
Unfortunately, and sorry @Connorjs123, a gewurztraminer was nowhere to be found. Lost among the many whites available at Burby and Bates, I came to a varietal that happens to be a favorite of mine, torrontes, a white grape native to Argentina. It is typically a light and refreshing wine, ripe with fresh fruit flavors and a tender sweetness. To remain unbiased, I purchased a brand with which I have no familiarity, Tomero 2014 torrontes from Salta, Argentina.
Upon returning home, I unscrewed the cap (blessed be twist-offs) and poured a glass of the golden, grassy-colored wine. I took in the aroma: it was fruity, full of fresh peaches and apples, but astringent and forceful. Distinctively floral, its aroma promised a dry wine with great body. And dry it was on the palate, parching, even. All of the sweet undertones of fresh fruit were hidden behind an acidic mask of indiscernible flavors: grapefruit? Garlic? I’m honestly not sure. Purely one-noted, it offered only a sour pucker and nothing else to be desired. Perhaps the finish, if you could make it that far, was the best part: a subtle hint of warming rosemary washed over the senses, but not enough to rectify the bitter blast that obliterated my taste buds.
The torrontes grape is grown in a variable climate, with hot days and cold nights, which should lend it a balanced acidity. I’m wondering if this vintage experienced a cold patch from which it could not recover. As I’ve discussed before, cooler-climate wines tend to be more acidic because the grapes ripen more slowly — hotter-climate grapes ripen fast, and so their sugars are more concentrated.
The winemaker notes that this wine, composed of 100 percent torrontes riojano, is a “lively, mineral wine with good acidity and a fresh finish with a hint of citrus.” Buzzwords such as “lively” and “fresh” do not apply here. This wine is tough to drink and even tougher to review, so I asked a couple friends their opinions on this torrontes (I’m into crowdsourcing, as you know). Their opinions were similar, albeit a little more honest.
“It just didn’t taste good,” one friend said, who noted its flavor was just plain “gross.”
“It reminds me of some type of cheap beer,” another friend said, who also remarked that it resembled a “classy Miller Lite.” If you should have one takeaway from this review, let that be it.
I’m saddened to have spent $12.99 on this bottle of wine, seeing as I had such high expectations. I’m actually hesitant to recommend food pairings. First, I would suggest you purchase another bottle of wine entirely. But if you were looking to pair this wine with any kind of food, the winemaker suggests appetizers, seafood, fusion cuisine and exotic dishes. I would say that, due to its high acidity, you should pair it with fattier fare such as grilled salmon and roasted potatoes, scallops or lobster with butter or eggs Benedict with Hollandaise abundant. In fact, if you have to choke down this wine, it would be best to do so with brunch.
Few times have I ever said “put the bottle back,” but unfortunately my experience with Tomero’s 2014 torrontes has given me reason to think twice before buying variations of my favorites. Maybe Aley was right: perhaps I should have gone with Budweiser.
Tomero 2014 torrontes is available at Burby and Bates in Orono for $12.99 per 750-milliliter bottle. It is recommended you not buy it.