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.