A Fresh White for Such a Night

Dominio del Plata Torrontés Cafayate Crios de Susana Balbo 2009
Dana Nigro
Posted: August 17, 2010

My New Orleans-born husband took me to see Dr. John and the Lower 911 perform at City Winery, Manhattan's music club/restaurant/make-your-own-wine venture on the west side. On a warm summer evening, in a darkened club, with the voodoo psychedelia of "Gris Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya" washing over us, and the funk of "Right Place, Wrong Time" getting everyone on their feet, I felt like I should be drinking Abita Purple Haze or another local Louisiana brew. But City Winery is a wine venue after all, with about 500 bottlings on its list, so I was sampling the wines by the glass.

After starting off with a very floral and lime-accented New York Riesling made by City Winery, I decided to keep the theme and move on to another floral grape variety, Torrontés, a white from Argentina. On the list was winemaker Susana Balbo's Crios label, which I've found to be a reliably good, $15-and-under value across different varieties—Malbec, Syrah-Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2009 Crios Torrontés ($10 a glass), grown in the mild weather of Salta province in the north of Argentina, was fresh and creamy, full of peach and melon fruit along with the grape’s distinctive notes of flowers. 87 points, non-blind. An easy sipper on its own, it made quite a contrast with the verbal savaging Dr. John directed at BP for the Gulf oil spill right before he launched into his protest song, "Black Gold."

WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Torrontés wines from Argentina.

Member comments   5 comment(s)

Chris A Elerick — Orlando, FL —  August 17, 2010 4:21pm ET

how about, "it made quite a contrast with the verbal savaging Dr. John unleashed as he launched into his protest song, 'Black Gold.'" that sets the mood well enough without (un)intentionally infusing politics into a wine-related blog entry.


Dana Nigro — New York, NY —  August 17, 2010 6:01pm ET

Hi Chris,

Well, I'm not trying to inject politics into anything here—certainly not weighing in pro or con as to what actions should be taken. I don't really see the occurrence of an oil spill as a "political" issue on its own; oil spills in prime fisheries are never good things, no matter your political beliefs.

And I don't see a reason to shy away from the fact that Dr. John wanted to bring attention during his concerts to the plight of his fellow Louisiana and other Gulf Coast residents—whether they're fishermen, oil workers or in the hospitality industry—following the spill, for which BP has taken responsibility. Those of us who have the good fortune to be able to sit and enjoy a concert and a glass of wine might want to help out where we can.

-- Dana Nigro, WineSpectator.com


Pauline Decloedt — canada —  August 18, 2010 4:22pm ET

Very well said, Dana - Bravo!! -

I will have to try the Torrontes - have enjoyed her Malbec - Crios.


Chris A Elerick — Orlando, FL —  August 19, 2010 2:37pm ET

dana, thanks for the response. keep the great blog entries coming :)


Dana Nigro — New York, NY —  August 19, 2010 2:43pm ET

Thanks, Chris!


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