This Way In >>

donnie and marie osmond

Argentina is the hottest wine producing country in the world, says master sommelier Keith Goldston


donnie and marie osmond

master somm keith goldston really is a captivating speaker

my other favorite master somm, melissa monosoff

If the Mayan calendar is right and world goes up in a puff of smoke next month, the epicenter might just be a wine bar in Argentina.

“The wines of Argentina are en fuego right now,” says master sommelier Keith Goldston, my favorite sommelier/wine lecturer/bon vivant. Goldston blew through town last week to meet with a small group of somms last week over a few bottles of (what else?) Pinot Grigio, Torrentes, Pinot Noir, Petit Verdot and Malbec from down south. “They’ve been on fire for years, too, but the good ones are only recently being shared with the world.”

Those beef-loving Argentines have long kept the good stuff secret, probably to wash all that meat down. “The average Argentine consumes 149 pounds of beef per year,” Goldston told us, “that’s more than any other country in the world.” Even more than Texas. “Argentina exports only 28% of the wine produced there, and most of that goes to the US.”

Torrontes, the hearty, work-horse white wine of Argentina, is one of the region’s stars. The vines are prolific growers, producing tangled stems of large grapes. If you imagine Baccus eating grapes at a toga party, it’s Torrontes that he’s probably munching off the stems. Grassy, oxidized Torrontes is a thing of the past. “The modern style is clean, off-dry, floral, crisp, with a bit of zip,” is how Goldston described it. “It’s a drag queen version of Pinot Grigio.”

Traditional Torrentes ranges from a reserved, subtle style to oaky to  flamboyant, perfume-box wines (the 2011 Amayala Torrentes is a terrific example) from Patagonia, where wine makers mix in a bit of Riesling.

On the red side, wine makers seem to be capturing those wide, sweeping, moonscape vistas of Patagonia in their Pinot Noir (remnant vines from the 1950s, when Domaine Chandon tried to make sparkling wines there, an attempt they soon abandoned), Petit Verdot and, of course, Malbec, a grape varietal made popular by Norton in the 1980s.

“Norton was the first big wine company to identify the best Malbec clones and learned the best practices for farming them,” Goldston explained. “Malbecs are everything you like about Merlot, with about ten extra flavors.”

Malbecs do well in Mendoza because the grapes love the high elevation, in the shadow of the Andes, where they get plenty of sunshine and pure water from melting ice. 99 percent of the Malbec vines are ungrafted, which means the yield large crops and are less expensive to plant and maintain.

So when the world ends next month, I’ll be hunkered down in a comfy chair sipping a glass of Argentine Malbec, or maybe a bottle of 2009 Manos Negros Pinot Noir, which reminded me of the complex, jammy wines of Walla Walla, Washington.

“Argentina’s wines have passion and soul,” agrees Goldston. Which makes them a pretty good choice for snuggling by a fire or sipping as the world goes to hell.

 

Recently Published

coffee,jpg
»

Stumptown Coffee finds a home in Uptown at new Green House Market

Stumptown Coffee will be flowing like expensive imported water when ...

abacus-chef-chris-patrick-and-owner-bill-hyde-8-2
»

Following a brief closure for repairs, Abacus has reopened with Chris Patrick back on the range

Following a week (or so) of closure for what the company says were ...

shake shack lv
»

Shake Shack to open September 1 in Dallas’ Crescent complex in Uptown

Doesn’t that chicken sandwich look good? Great even? And that ...

kenny and pizza
»

Chef Kenny Bowers launches Kenny’s East Coast Pizza

Chef Kenny Bowers already makes one of the best burgers in Texas. ...

article image
»

Pizza king Jay Jerrier confirms he will open Cane Rosso at Dallas Cowboys’ The Star in Frisco

After eight pizza restaurants spread across Texas and two ice cream ...

Have you seen Deadliest Catch on TV? This king crab came from that boat
»

Samir Dhurandhar is cooking Indian food for Nick & Sam’s Sunday Supper this weekend. Here’s how to snag a seat.

The uber-talented chef and co-owner of Nick & Sam’s ...

hutchins bbq
»

Hutchins BBQ doubling the size of its flagship McKinney restaurant to meet booming demand

McKinney’s praiseworthy Hutchins BBQ is expanding their ...

John Tesar hopes to turn scallops into pearls with his new ventures
»

Here’s a Dallas wine dinner you shouldn’t miss: Hall Wines plus a scallop s’more. Yep, that sounds crazy (and weirdly delicious)

I don’t have any idea if a “scallop s’more” ...

stirr
»

Chef Chad Bowden leaving Culpepper Steakhouse for new Deep Ellum restaurant

Chad Bowden, the longtime chef of Culpepper Steakhouse in the Dallas ...