Susana Balbo Crios Torrontés 2007

When you hear a wine described as “balanced” what does it mean to you?

I unscrewed this bottle of Torrontés and drank most of it before reading the back of the label.  Before opening, I knew that it was made by Susana Balbo one of my favourite Argie producers.  I knew that the wine came from Majestic and retails at £6.99.  I knew that it had a pretty label and came in the usual gargantuan bottles that are trademarks of the land of diminutive Eva Perón.  I am convinced that the bottles used by Dominio del Plata are almost as big as Evita and probably have clocked up more air miles per kilo.

After reading the label I now feel much wiser, because I know that “Crios” means “offspring”.  I know that Torrontés is Argentina’s uniquely aromatic grape, and that it is similar to Viognier with the dry crisp taste of Sauvignon Blanc.  The final interesting fact I took on board was that no oak was used in ageing the wine.  Oh, and just to cram just one more sliver of semi-useful intelligence into my puddled brain, that the wine displays excellent “balance”.

Not creosote - Crios....

The equilibrium referred to by most winos when they talk about balance, is the relative weight of (perm any from) tannin, fruit, sweetness, acidity and alcohol (other wine characteristics are available).  This 5 pronged see-saw is a very personal and variable affair for me alone.  I’m sure you have different criteria and I hope your different moods lead to different conclusions each time you try a wine.

Bearing in mind that no oak was used in making this white wine, too much tannin was about as likely as an open top Popemobile driving through an Afghan cave.  It was quite acidic, and did have some of the characteristics of a Sauvignon Blanc.  Where a good SB (especially from New Zealand) succeeds is in the exuberance of exotic fruit to add sweetness to the mix.  With Crios, the balancing sweetness tasted more of basic sugar than fruit, just ever so slightly artificial.  Alcohol at 14% also makes the wine quite heavy and although I manfully glugged my way through the whole bottle, I promptly tripped over a white line in the middle of a road on my way home and knocked a little sense into my thick skull.

All of which led me to the conclusion that Crios Torrontés is fruity and citric like the orangey bit in the middle of a Jaffa Cake.  And that is no bad thing.  How many wines have you ever tried that give you as much raw, innocent pleasure as a Jaffa Cake?  Does equilibrium matter so much?  Or is one man’s dizziness another man’s balance?

Leave a Reply