The La Riojana 1591 Torrontes Dolce (sweet) is a Sparkling wine made from Torrontes grapes grown in the La Rioja region of Argentina. The La Rioja region is where Spanish missionaries first planted grapevines in 1591. Most wines you see from Argentina are grown in the Mendoza region, La Rioja is north of Mendoza and has a warmer, drier climate. The label says this wine was made naturally at harvest, which would indicate this wine was tank fermented with almost no bottle aging, it is rare to see a wine produced in 2011, sold in the stores in 2011. This bottle is sold as a Trader Joe’s ($6.99) wine, but the same wine seems to be sold at Whole Foods and Sam’s Club under the Raza label. The alcohol content is a low 7.5%. It has a very funky, purple, mushroom-like, plastic stopper for a cork.
The color is almost clear with just a hint of yellow, the bubbles are tiny and numerous. The nose is light and delicate, pink grapefruit, juicy apricot and pineapple with a touch of honey. This is a sweet wine, but not sugary, candy sweet, more very ripe fruit sweet. It tastes of a potpourri of pear, melon, and lemon/lime. The mouth feel is slightly syrupy and the mid palate adds a hint of Sweetarts candy. The bubbles hit your tongue and quickly disappear, they are very light, other than a tingly sensation in your mouth, it almost does not seem like Sparkling wine. There is a good amount of acidity evident on the finish that acts as a counterbalance to the overall sweetness of the wine.
The La Riojana 1591 Torrontes Dolce is the perfect Sparkling wine for people who don’t normally drink wine. Light, delicate and sweet, but with balance and juicy fruit flavors. At 7.5% alcohol, it works well when you want to celebrate with Bubbly, but you don’t want to get grandma drunk or put your guests who drove in a compromising position.