Wine represents maker and her “offspring”

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Recognizing family: The name Crios means offspring and its label represents the hands of winemaker Susana Balboa and her two children. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media

If you’re adventurous and willing to explore beyond the common whites of North America, then the Torrontes from Argentina may be a perfect beginning.

Most are familiar with the robust Malbecs from Argentina but the whites from this region remain rather obscure. Torrontes is grown almost exclusively in the northern part of Argentina and is most expressive when grown at high altitudes in semi-arid climates. While there are three different clones on Torrontes, the Torrento Riojano is the most fragrant. Torrontes has a compelling perfume of fresh garden flowers and is a cross between the Muscat of Alexandria and the Mission grape. What makes it most memorable is the similarity it has with the spicy fragrance of a Gewurztraminer and the sweetness of a Muscat, yet it is nearly dry in style with delicate acidity in the finish.

Susana Balboa has been involved with winemaking on a global scale for over 30 years while crafting wines in Argentina, Australia, California, France, Chile, Italy and South Africa. Before developing her own winery in 1999, she had been responsible for the design of one of Argentina most famous wineries, Catena Zapata. She created the Susana Balboa label along with the Crios wines, which acknowledge her children. The name Crios means “offspring” and the label is designed with three overlapping hands representing Susana and her children, Jose and Ana. Since 2011, Jose has been directing the winemaking efforts at Crios, emphasizing a modern style while maintaining the vision of his mother.

The 2011 Crios Torrontes is a bit more restrained than other Torrontes with a faint spicy floral aroma. The stone peach and apricot overtones yield to a slightly oily middle palate. There is a touch of freshness and acidity on the back of the palate. The tropical mango flavors linger before yielding to a round and refreshing medium-dry finish.

Suggested Retail: $13.99

W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits. Email him at