Recuerdo this torrontes

While at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, Ore., in August, I received a sample bottle of Recuerdo Torrontes, a perfect taster-size that I’ve been dying to try. So today I chilled it and cracked it open, a perfect pre-dinner refresher Torronteson this warm, Indian Summer night.

The pour came out pale yellow, and a floral aroma mixed with Honeycrisp apple wafted upward.

Torrontes is a prevalent Argentinian varietal, and the Recuerdo label does its home grape well. It’s a smooth yet crisp wine, refreshing yet savory. The sugar is not syrupy, and the hint of lemon is just enough to brighten the palate without causing a pucker. Floral flavors meander through the entire sip, from first inhale to final swallow.

The moniker “Recuerdo,” meaning “memory” or “momento” in Spanish, and the wine is made as an homage to – or memory of – Argentina’s terroir. The wine is stored for three months in stainless steel to preserve the naturally refreshing qualities. Each bottle should capture the essence of its year, presented as a straightforward representation of that year, unmanipulated in the process of winemaking.

Recuerdo produces only two varietals – Torrontes and Malbec – Argentina’s two most recognizable wines. But the Recuerdo brand puts an American twist on its winemaking, partnering with a Napa Valley vintner to make Argentina’s best wines accessible to a North American marketplace.

At only $15 per bottle, this is a wine one could easily pour on a weeknight, and just as easily feel proud to serve to guests. The wine is available in specialty shops, online, and at its Napa home, Ma(i)sonry.

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Charity Case Rosé

I’m a bit of newcomer to rosé, so I was excited to try Charity Case Wine’s 2008 Rosé– a new experience! I’ll start with  the basics, in case you’re a newcomer too.

The color is a deeper orange/pink than I expected. The aroma fresh grapefruit. The taste… well, this is why rosé is so interesting. I’m expecting it to be sweet. I admit, the pink color and fruity smell makes me think it’ll taste like the dreadful white zinfandel. But it doesn’t.

The taste is tart like grapefruit, but not bitter or sweet. It also has just the tiniest hint of vanilla, a nice balance to the bright fruit, and a touch of pepper.

I paired this rosé with barbecued pork chops rubbed in garlic, orange zest and onion salt, a side of long-grain rice pilaf and carrots sauteed in butter and garlic. The slightly spicy chops were perfect with the fresh, dry wine. If I were to serve it with fish, I think a zesty Cajun mahi would be a nice pair.

Just a few days ago, I swore I’d never taste a pink wine, but I was woefully shortsighted and thinking mainly of white zin. Charity Case has opened my eyes — and taste buds — to rosé, and this is a wine I’m looking forward to pouring on a warm spring day.

Charity Case is a fantastic cooperative movement of Napa Valley wineries “devoted to raising funds to support local non-profits, providing services to children and their families.” One hundred percent of the proceeds go to charity; all work and supplies are donated. The rose retails for $11.99.