MICHEL TORNINO CUMA TORRONTES—Celebrating another Liebster
My Fellow Inebriates,
I was lucky enough to get nominated for another Liebster Award yesterday by the Lords of the Drinks.
It’s been a long time since I was included in one of these awesome award chains—probably because I’m usually too drunk to read a ton of blogs, which makes me a real douchebag as far as the blogging community is concerned. But I do appreciate the nod, and despite already having a Liebster on my mantel, I’m going to treat it like an Oscar and put the new one beside it, with the understanding that I can stockpile as many of these damn things as I want, and the caveat that someday the Academy will hate me for it.
The Liebster comes with 11 highly topical questions formulated by the Lords of the Drinks. Here goes…
- What country are you from? CANADA.
- What’s your age? THE AGE OF REASON. YES, THAT MEANS I’M 7. BEARS ONLY LIVE TO BE ABOUT 32, AND THAT’S IF THEY DON’T GET SHOT FOR RAIDING SOMEONE’S CAMPSITE.
- How old were you when you first got drunk? A COUPLE OF DAYS OLD. I HAD JUST COME TO LIVE AT THE LIQUOR STORE AS A CHRISTMAS CHARITY BEAR, SO IT WAS INEVITABLE.
- What’s your favorite drink? GIN. AND RED WINE. AND BEER. AND SCOTCH. AND RYE.
- How many units of alcohol do you approximately drink per week? EIGHT, UNLESS I GET INCREDIBLY LUCKY.
- What kind of drunk are you (angry, sleepy, extra-social, horny, dramatic, dancing, etc.)? SOCIAL, EXTROVERTED, AMOROUS, HAPPY, SLEEPY, IN THAT ORDER.
- Is there any interesting local drinking custom, ritual, or game that you can share with us? LATELY I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT YUKAFLUX, THE CANADIAN PRACTICE OF FLOATING CHUNKS OF FRUIT IN A COMMUNAL TUB OF HARD LIQUOR.
- Describe your most epic drunk night. “MOST”? I WOULD NEVER REMEMBER THE MOST EPIC ONE.
- Which drink (or mix) is certain to screw you up? TEQUILA WITH AN ILL-CONSIDERED WHITE WINE CHASER.
- Got any tips on how to have a good (drunk) night for little money? STAY AT HOME AND DRINK CHEAP HARD LIQUOR FROM A PLASTIC JUG.
- Is there a relatively unknown drink you can recommend us? RECENTLY AN ISLAY GIN HIT THE MARKET. I’M SALIVATING TO TRY IT.
And how do we celebrate our second Liebster? Why, with a gorgeous, aromatic Argentine Torrontés of course. Not only is MICHEL TORINO CUMA TORRONTES (2012) organic; it’s also a bargain at $13.99.
Torrontés is fast becoming my favorite varietal, with its lush, floral aromas and easy drinkability. The name Torrontés actually describes several types of grape, all originating with Muscat of Alexandria and varying in degree of fruity aromaticity. CUMA grapes come from the Cafayate region of northern Argentina, a landscape of dramatic variety situated about 1,700 metres above sea level where Tannat and Chardonnay grapes are also grown with great success.
CUMA is on the Consultants’ Choice rack at our local booze shop right now, and for good reason. Generously aromatic with apple, nectar, honey, melon, and spice, its olfactory invitation simply can’t be ignored. Even my dad, after trying a sip from Mum’s my glass, went to the cupboard for his own glass, then matched me sip for sip until most of the bottle was gone. CUMA goes a step beyond FINCA LOS PRIMOS TORRONTES with an additional layering of flavors, firm structure, and decisive minerality. The finish is middling, so you find yourself going for the next sip sooner than you otherwise might and getting slightly drunk as a result. In other words, all good.
What makes CUMA’s value extraordinary is its organic methodology. Indeed, the word “CUMA” means “clean and pure” in the pre-Incan Aymara language. Michel Torino adopted ecological “zero farming” practices back in the 1990s, using organic material from the soil and weeds to farm the vineyards, thereby minimizing the use of chemicals and fertilizers, and achieving organic certification in 2005.
CUMA’s finesse and sophistication go beyond its modest price. It was the perfect bottle to celebrate a second Liebster, although—let’s face it—once I was half-shitfaced I had no inclination to go through the formalities of passing the torch. Go ahead, call me a dickhead.