Sometimes it’s easier to order wine simply by its number on the list. That way you won’t mispronounce it. And your waiter probably doesn’t know how to say it either.
But we wine wonks don’t take the easy way, do we? We go for the gusto, even if we’re not sure how “gusto” is pronounced.
The wine in question here is torrontés. It’s possibly the finest white wine coming out of Argentina. But how do you say it?
I’ve heard a lot of Americans pronounce it tuh-RON-tess. But I never heard an Argentinian say it that way.
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They say toe-rrrrrrrrrrrrrrron-TÉS.
Try it. Loud and proud. Show off how you can rrrrrrrrroll that Spanish “R.” And go for that bold stress on the last syllable.
Anyway, by the time the confusion is over and you have a full glass in front of you, you’re in for a treat.
Torrontés is so aromatic, so perfumed with scents of orange blossoms, honeysuckle and lavender, that its fans say you could put a dab behind each ear and go out for the evening.
The best ones are fresh, crisp and fruity, with flavors from tangerines to pink grapefruit to apricots and litchi.
They go with a variety of foods. They’re crisp enough to go with Peruvian ceviche, light enough to go with fish and chicken, sturdy enough to handle the marbled red meats of American backyard grilling and Argentinian asados, sweet enough to tame spicy Asian foods.
The crispness comes from high-altitude Andes Mountain vineyards where cool days and cold nights keep grape acids from burning away.
Historians say torrontés was born when Spanish missionaries created hybrids of the muscat and Mission grapes. It was little known outside Argentina until the late 20th century, when newfound political stability allowed an explosion of exports — first of the heady red grape malbec, then of torrontés.
Now the two wines are putting Argentina on the map as a fine, wine-making country.
▪ 2013 Trivento Reserve Torrontés, Mendoza, Argentina (100 percent torrontés): yellow-green hue, aromas of flowers and citrus, crisp and fruity; $11.
▪ 2014 Alamos Torrontés, Salta, Argentina (100 percent torrontés): orange blossom aromas, flavors of ripe apricots and tropical fruits, crisp; $13.
▪ 2013 LEO Torrontés, by Valentin Bianchi, San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina (100 percent torrontés): aromas of camellias, flavors of apricots and citrus, crisp and dry; $17.
▪ 2013 Tomero Torrontés, Valle de Cafayate, Salta, Argentina (100 percent torrontés): light yellow hue, orange blossom aromas, flavors of pink grapefruit, crisp and dry; $17.
▪ 2013 Finca La Linda Torrontés, by Luigi Bosca, Luján de Cuyo e Maipú, Argentina: aromas of orange blossoms and lavender, flavors of white grapefruit and minerals; $12.
▪ 2014 El Porvenir Amauta Torrontés Absoluto, Valle de Cafayate, Salta, Argentina (100 percent torrontés): yellow-green hue, floral aromas, flavors of lemons, apricots and minerals; $13.
▪ 2013 Kaiken “Terroir Series” Torrontés, Salta, Argentina (100 percent torrontés): floral aromas, flavors of tangerines, crisp and dry; $13.