The word instantly conjures up deep, oaky red wines from Spain. But there is another Rioja. Actually, it’s called La Rioja, a small distinction but one nonetheless. The Rioja in Spain is also officially called La Rioja but here in the UK, it’s rarely used.
The La Rioja I’m referring to today is thousands of miles away in the western desert lands of Argentina. As was common practice when the New World was being discovered and named, the homesick immigrants named their new home after their old one, which is how La Rioja, a province of Argentina, came to be named. Spain did take the Argentine La Rioja to court to prevent them from using the name but the case was settled by an Argentine court. They ruled in favour of the Argentine Rioja, mostly because the wines of Spanish Rioja are made from Tempranillo and the majority of Argentine Rioja is made from the white grape Torrontes.
Which brings me to today’s wine, a Torrontes from the producer Gimenez Riili. Torrontes was erroneously thought for many years to a descendant of Spanish Torrontes but that has now found to be untrue. It’s now classified as a uniquely South American variety. The Perpetuum Premuim 2011 Torrontes is a wonderful example of what can be done with this grape.
In the past, Torrontes often had an overly perfumed aroma, almost cloying with the same over the top flavours on the palate. The Perpetuum is no such thing. Aromatic but not overpowering, the nose is full of green apples, melon and grapefruits. On the palate, it is very refreshing, with loads of melons and fresh green apple flavours, finishing on a grapefruit note.
This is a great wine to have as an aperitif or roasted or pan fried white fish. The Perpetuum Premuim 2011 Torrontes is available from Cupari Wines and costs £11.45.