research using DNA profiling has shown that the different
Torrontés are genetically closely related but distinct grape
varieties, and that Torrontes Riojano, Torrontes Sanjuanino,
and Torontel (also known as Moscatel Amarillo) are all separate
crossings of Mission (originally reported as Criolla Chica)
and Muscat of Alexandria.
Torrontes Mendocino was found to probably be a crossing
of Muscat of Alexandria and another, so far unidentified
While the Muscat-like qualities of the Torrontes varieties
meant that a relationship to Muscat of Alexandria had been
expected, the presence of Mission or Criolla Chica in the
pedigree was unexpected to the researchers.
not known how Torrontes arrived in Argentina, but it seems
to have been there a long time, suggesting that it and the
other varieties of the Criollas group were brought
by Spanish colonists, quite possibly missionaries.
8,700 hectares (21,000 acres) in Argentina have been
planted with Torrontes Riojano, and 4,850 hectares
(12,000 acres) with TorrontÃ©s Sanjuanino. Plantings in
the very high altitudes (1700m+) of the Calchaques Valleys
in the far north of Argentina have recently met with success.
The vine is highly productive and is just under ten percent
of all white grape plantings, however as a varietal, it
makes up almost 20 percent of all white wine sold in Argentina
(2008). The best Torrontés wines are said to come from the
province of Salta in the north west of the country, and the
grape thrives in cold dry conditions. It has a low acidity,
smooth texture and is characterized by distinctive peach
and apricot aromas on the nose.
likes dry, windswept conditions. Torrontes Riojano has large
loose bunches of pale grapes; Torrontes Sanjuanino is similar.
Torrontes Mendocino, however, has smaller, tighter bunches
of darker yellow grapes.