Amalaya, Blanco 2012, Argentina
The rise and fall in the popularity of Chardonnay was a real phenomenon: from worldwide popularity to outcast as a pariah, and all within a decade. Since those heady days of the noughties when we couldn't get enough Chardonnay (to the extent of naming our children after it), sales collapsed as we turned to other grapes like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, even Albariño and Grüner-Veltliner. The thing they all had in common? No oak, and a really fresh, tangy appeal.
There's a grape in the same mould that I have always enjoyed. It comes from Argentina and is called Torrontes. Widespread popularity has possibly been held back by the variety's particularly pungent floral character. Some examples have such a powerful wafting perfume that it is enough to put many wine drinkers off. But this wine from Amalaya comes from way up in the very far north of Argentina close to the Bolivian border, where the vineyard is planted at serious altitude in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. The winemaker has clevery restrained the grape's natural exuberance, and has blended in 15% of cool and sophisticated Riesling to create a wine that does have flowers and herbs on the nose, but also a clean and vibrant lime zest freshness. On the palate there is a rich texture and peach and apricot sweetness, but the Riesling again adds a clever and keen edge of mouthwatering acidity. It really is a little cracker. Please watch the video for more information.
£8.50 from winetrust100.co.uk, but there's a list of all stockists at wine-searcher.com.