Three terrific white wines from Argentina's Santa Julia for $10
I have been fond of wines from Argentina for more than 15 years now. I first recall being blown away by the Cabernet Sauvignon values that hit our shores in the 1990s. Over time, more and more wines from Argentina landed on our shelves in a variety of styles and price points. The overriding theme is that Argentina over-delivers on QPR (Quality-Price Ratio). The Zuccardi family in Argentina has been making wine since 1963 and they have more than 2,800 acres under vine. They’re committed to sustainable farming practices and making natural wines. Their latest project is the Santa Julia + line. These are budget-priced offerings that sell for around $10 a bottle. Today I’ll look at a trio of white wines that showcase a side of Argentina that gets less attention than it deserves. Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon get a lot of play, but the winemakers in Argentina are making white wines that demand attention as well.
The Santa Julia + 2010 Torrontés was produced using fruit sourced from their sustainably farmed estate vineyards in the Mendoza region of Argentina. Grapes were picked over a two week period at the end of March 2010. Temperature-controlled fermentation was accomplished with select yeasts. This offering is 100 percent Torrontés, and it has a suggested retail price of $10.
Aromas of white flowers and stone fruit fill the lovely nose of this wine. The palate is quite fruity and juicy, yet perfectly dry. Apricot and peach flavors play a large role; a hint of mango chips in as well. Almond, hazelnut, vanilla bean and grapefruit characteristics are part of the finish, which is crisp and clean with zippy acidity. This wine is a nice value, it’s refreshing and it shows off wonderful varietal character.
The Santa Julia + 2010 Pinot Grigio was produced using fruit sourced in the Santa Rosa and Maipu sections of Mendoza. All of the fruit was hand harvested. Fermentation took place in temperature controlled surroundings with select yeasts. This wine is all Pinot Grigio, and has a suggested retail price of $10.
Apricot aromas fill the nose of this wine, along with hints of green apple. Mango, papaya and pineapple flavors fill the juicy palate, along with a gentle wisp of banana. Apricot, nectarine, and white and yellow peaches are all part of a parade of appealing fleshy fruit flavors that emerge on the finish. Bits of clover honey and ginger are present as well. The finish is noteworthy in length for this price-point. This wine is quite delectable by itself; in fact, it’s pleasure in a glass. However it also pairs beautifully with lots of lighter foods. I tried it along roasted chicken and rosemary potatoes, and it worked quite well.
Lastly we have the Santa Julia + 2010 Viognier. This wine was produced from fruit sourced in the Santa Rosa Vineyard in Mendoza. As with the others, the fruit was hand harvested and fermented at controlled temperatures. This wine is all Viognier and has a suggested retail price of $10.
Hazelnut, toast and vanilla bean aromas join tropical and stone fruits in the complex nose, while apricot, peach and mango flavors fill the palate. Hints of other tropical fruits, such as guava, chip in as well, along with wisps of orange and lemon zest. Honey emerges on the finish along with toasted nut characteristics and white pepper. This wine has good length and provides plenty of complexity for its price.
When I’m shopping for wines in the $10 price bracket I’m looking for offerings that provide bang for the buck. Frankly I’m looking to be impressed by wines that deliver more than their peers in the category. These wines from Santa Julia fall right into that category. Each of them provides excellent varietal character and plenty of complexity. Whether you drink these wines at home with takeout, or share them with friends at your next party, you’re going to be pleased. They offer lots of pleasure and they won’t break your budget. Right now, most wine lovers are used to looking to Argentina for Malbec, and many of us also look there for well-priced Cabernet and other red wines. If you haven’t begun to look in that direction for white wines yet, it’s high time to start. This trio of bargains from Santa Julia is as good a place as any to start.