Argentina is hot! It is always fun to revisit an area when it becomes the new hot spot, to figure out the reason why. For Argentina, it’s simple. The wines are delicious, drinkable as soon as they’re bottled, and, for the most part, affordable. Argentina has been bottling wine since the 1820s and is the fifth-largest producer in the world. Remember, it is half a year ahead of us on vintages, because it is in the southern hemisphere.
Available at Solo Vino Wine Shop, 517 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-602-9515
Alta Vista Torrontes 2003 (Mendoza, Argentina) $10.99
This wine is floral, clean, and crisp, with a touch of spice and great lemony acids. Torrontes would make a nice change of pace for a pinot grigio habit. Drink it on its own or with light appetizers.
Conquista Malbec 2004 (Mendoza) $6.99
Malbec is the main red grape of Argentina. It was originally transplanted from Bordeaux and has done very well south of the equator. This one is simple and quaffable. It’s balanced, with a touch of spice, and is also a great value. Try it with pasta and red sauce.
Mapema Malbec 2002 (Mendoza) $20.99
The opposite end of the malbec world: This wine is big, lush, and balanced. It goes on and on with notes of black cherry, tobacco, chocolate, and oak. It is too tannic on its own, but get working on a lamb shank and you may have a new favorite wine. Or pair it with a chocolate dessert and skip the entrée altogether.
Vila Tinto Fundacion 2002 (Mendoza) $9.99
This blend of bonarda, malbec, and cabernet is soft, with a hint of spice and oak. It is delicious, but will age for a couple more years with no problems. Try it with a grilled pork chop.
Domingo Molina Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 (Yacochuya) $20.49
Rich and complex with touches of cedar, plum, and blackberry, it keeps changing and gets softer and silkier the longer it is open. The wine needs to be paired with some food, so cook up a big steak or have some funky cheese as dessert.
Bill Coy runs Vintage U, which organizes wine tastings, classes, and events for corporate groups, wine enthusiasts, and the general public. Reach him at email@example.com.