Finding a quality $10 malbec is difficult; finding a quality $10 torrontes makes the malbec search seem easy. That’s because torrontes, which is malbec’s white grape counterpart in Argentina, is in short supply. The best torrontes grapes are used to make pricey wines, and even some of the least of the grapes end up in those pricey wines.
Fortunately, Argentine producer Fincas Ferrer has found a way around this problem. The Accordeon ($10, sample, available at selected Majestics, Apple Jack and Dallas Fine Wines) is not only one of the best-made torrontes I’ve had, but it’s a steal at this price. I tasted the wine at a lunch with winemaker Miquel Salarich and several other wine writers, and we took turns asking Salarich if this wine was really only $10. He just smiled and said yes.
Torrontes, when it is done well, should be floral and fruity. Sometimes, the wine is off-dry, with a hint of sweetness, but this is often used to mask the wine’s faults. The Accordeon is bone dry, though still low in alcohol, and it has peach fruit and an almost riesling-like oiliness (which is a good thing) as well as a classic peach pit finish. It’s just not a simple, fruity white wine; there’s much more to it than that.
Drink this wine chilled on its own, or with any kind of spicy food. Highly recommended, and almost certain to show up in the 2011 $10 Wine Hall of Fame.