When I first started selling wine in 1989 the wines from Chile were all the rage. At the time we carried a bunch of labels but the biggest selling item was St. Morillon Cabernet Sauvignon (sp?) that sold for, hold on to your hat, $3.99 a bottle. At the time the wines from California had skyrocketed in price, some selling for more than $20 a bottle, and customers were looking for a serious wine without spending an arm and a leg. Boy have times changed … or have they?
So fast forward almost 20 years and here we are again. Now finding decent California Cab is going to run you almost $20 and forget about the top brands, many selling for $200+ a bottle. Time and time again I taste wines from Argentina that absolutely blow me away for the price. So here is a short list of wines in stock that you really should not miss if you value every dollar you spend on wine.
The current newsletter feature is the Auka Malbec ($11) produced by a winery called La Consulta. We also have a Malbec from the same winemaker produced at La Madrid ($15) that is as dense and muscular as most $30 California Cabs. There is a lot of tannin in this wine too, so make sure you decant for an hour. The other wine that has gained a footing on the shelves is High Note Malbec ($13), although the importer sold out last week so it’s future is uncertain. This is big but soft Malbec, with a blueberry jam quality that goes down real easy.
As for Cabernet Sauvignon, I find the Nieto Cabernet Sauvignon ($13) offers more bang for the buck than any example from California. Nieto also produces a darn fine Pinot Noir ($13) that is fairly thick but still maintains some acidity. Look in the coming weeks for a couple of Syrah based wines I have found as well as, and I hesitate to say it, a Carmenere from Chile that offers amazing quality and value.
So rather lament that you can’t find good “American” red wine for a reasonable price, lower your sights, latitude wise, and see what the “other” America is doing. I think you will be surprised at how far the dollar still goes in Argentina.