A whole field of violets blooms when you uncap and pour the 2009 Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes from Argentina's high and dry wine country (expect to pay about $13 at wine shops and big box stores).
We first wrote about winemaker Balbo in May 2009, when we raved about her stellar rose of malbec. That wine is a very strong, full-cry rendition of the varietal, a characteristic shared by her boldly idiosyncratic torrontes, made from Argentina's signature aromatic white grape. Balbo, a purist, believes in coaxing every iota of fruit and structure from the grape and capturing it in a pristinely clean wine fermented in steel and untouched by oak.
The bouquet of Balbo's torrontes is forceful and astonishing, a heady tincture of violets scented with lime. We spent a good while wallowing in the sublime fragrance before our first taste. The scent of violets reigns supreme even as assertive flavors of lime, mango, a little white pepper and a trace of cardamom wash over the tongue. A mineral, nearly flinty note enters about mid-palate and persists through a long and exceedingly crisp finish.
This no-holds-barred wine will go beautifully with a warm-weather supper of cold chicken roasted in a spicy mustard and Tabasco herb glaze and served with a simple salad of field greens, heirloom yellow tomato and avocado.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.