Torrontés wine grape

Argentina’s signature white grape – or rather, grapes, for the country has three different varieties called Torrontés [Something], and on labels the Something is usually and confusingly omitted.  The most important is Torrentés Riojano.  This is the most planted (more than 20% of all white-grape vineyards), most fragrant, and by far the most exported.
To add to the confusion, there are about four varieties in Spain also called Torrontés, and they’re all different from the Argentinean ones which originated locally as natural crosses of Muscat of Alexandria with other varieties.  Torrontés Riojano and Torrontés Sanjuanino (4.5% of white vineyards) are crosses with Criolla Chica, the grape called Pais in Chile, Mission in California, and Listan Prieto in Tenerife, which was brought to America by the conquistadores.  The other parent of the much-less-aromatic Torrontés Mendocino (only 1.5% of the vineyards) has yet to be identified.
Both the lesser varieties are often made as sweet wines, while Torrentés Riojano is almost always made dry.  It usually smells sweet, though, with a powerful Muscat-like perfume of rose petals, backed up by lemon and peach on the often quite full-bodied palate.  It’s best drunk young.

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