Argentina is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. Argentine wine, as with some aspects of Argentine cuisine, has its roots in Spain. The wines started being exported during the 1990s, and are currently growing in popularity, making it now the largest wine exporter in South America. The most important wine regions of the country are located in the provinces of Mendoza, San Juan and La Rioja. Salta, Catamarca, Río Negro and more recently Southern Buenos Aires are also wine producing regions. The Mendoza province produces more than 60% of the Argentine wine. Due to the high altitude and low humidity of the main wine producing regions, Argentine vineyards rarely face the problems of insects, fungi, molds and other grape diseases that affect vineyards in other countries. This allows cultivating with little or no pesticides, enabling even organic wines to be easily produced. There are many different varieties of grapes cultivated in Argentina, reflecting the country's many immigrant groups. The French brought Malbec, which makes most of Argentina's best known wines. The Italians brought vines that they called Bonarda, although Argentine Bonarda appears to be the Douce noir of Savoie, also known as Charbono in California. It has nothing in common with the light fruity wines made from Bonarda Piemontese in Piedmont. Torrontés is another typically Argentine grape and is mostly found in the provinces of La Rioja, San Juan, and Salta. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and other international varieties are becoming more widely planted.
- Item #: i_382121Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94We have a great deal on an Argentinian red that's full-bodied and soft with upfront, ripe dark-berried and plummy fruit and equally forward spicy-sweet oak that brings along flavors of vanilla bean and cacao nib. This Malbec from 1853 Old Vine Estate is a step up from their other wine that you might have seen around: it's made with some preferred parts (select parcels) of a vineyard originally planted in 1910.
Malbec came into Argentina from Southwestern France in 1853, which is the origin of the name for the 1853 Old Vine Estate project, one of several belonging to a group of friends under the Kauzo Estates name. They don't take shortcuts where others might: the grapes are handpicked rather than machine harvested, which is more time-consuming and costly, but better for quality selection; and they use new French oak barrels for aging rather than oak chips or worse, which are unfortunately not uncommon these days. Going further, this producer has been awarded Carbon Footprint and Water Footprint certifications, which says a lot in an industry that uses a surprising number of resources.
If this sounds like your kind of wine, we recommend picking it up while it's here!
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "This shows a lot of muscular and toned personality with dark-berry, wet-earth and bark character. Full and lightly chewy with pretty tannins and a long, flavorful finish. A serious red. Delicious now."
- Item #: i_383441Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96+We love this Malbec and are ecstatic to receive their latest release for our shelves! That the 2017 received a 96+ Point score from Wine Advocate is not surprising-- this wine from Gualtallary is all about terroir, that sense of place that great wines evoke, showcasing how the best wines really are made in the vineyard. Of course, it helps to have a world-class team in the winery, which is the case here, making this wine shine even brighter. This wine has gained quite a bit of traction in our cellar over the last few years and this year's version may be the best of all. Buy and drink and enjoy with confidence!
Founded in 1995 by a group of Italian wine-making luminaries, including Alberto Antonini of Antinori and Antonio Morescalchi, Altos Las Hormigas has always been evolving. Their pioneering Terroir Project is an integral part of the burgeoning appellation system in Mendoza, and strives to show Malbec's diversity of expression according to its origin. After seeing the immense potential of the Uco Valley, the team decided to stop using new oak and small barriques; and instead go with older, untoasted, large oak foudres across the board. Furthermore, they teamed up with Pedro Parra, who many consider to be the world's foremost authority (and only PhD) in terroir, to find the ideal sites for their plantings as well as a way to assess the ideal ripeness of their fruit. Parra literally dug thousands of soil pits in the Uco Valley searching out the spots with the highest concentration of limestone in the soil, and the results are quite simply staggering!
WINE ADVOCATE 96+ POINTS - "After some ups and downs in past vintages, the 2017 Malbec Appellation Gualtallary is every bit as good as the already superb 2016. It's expressive, mineral and vertical, austere, like biting into chalk. It's produced with grapes from a rented plot in a somewhat fashionable appellation that is quite large and diverse. The palate is super austere, dry, serious and mineral, while the nose is expressive and has the wilderness of the place with unusual elegance and freshness for a year like 2017. It finishes long and tasty, with some violets. Could this be their best Gualtallary to date?"
- Item #: i_378990Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 93JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - "The smoke, black-tea and dark-berry aromas and flavors are really impressive. Hints of coffee. Full body, firm yet lightly rounded tannins and a flavorful finish. Hard not to drink now. Pure malbec. No wood. Drink now."
- Item #: i_380823Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 9380% Malbec & 20% Cabernet Franc
BenMarco wines are made with minimal intervention to allow for the purest interpretation of what’s underground on the extreme sites where the grapes for BenMarco are grown. “I try to avoid adding my influence to BenMarco wines,” Edy says. “What I really like to see is what the vines can do, without any kind of winemaking influence.”
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "Even if 2017 and 2018 were both warmer years after the very cold 2016, the difference in ripeness was quite obvious when tasting the 2017 BenMarco Expresivo next to other 2018s, as 2017 was low yielding and there was more natural concentration in the wines. It's a ripe and expressive (pun intended) blend of 80% Malbec with 20% Cabernet Franc from Gualtallary produced in a traditional way and with an élevage in new barriques for 14 months, despite which, the oak feels quite integrated, as the wine has a lot of power and energy. The medium-bodied palate reveals abundant dusty tannins and some herbs, with flower, berry and spicy flavors. "
- Item #: i_381180Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 93JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - "This is a balanced red with blackberry and light tar character. Medium to full body, creamy tannins and a flavorful finish. Hints of dark chocolate and walnuts."
Ben Marco has been one of our favorite value-priced Malbec’s for some time. Showcasing rich, dark fruit and silky tannins, this is a delicious, crowd pleasing wine. It has the concentration and juicy flavors we love along with impressive lift and vibrancy.
- Item #: i_377824Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 95JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "Aromas of spices, smoke, berries and bark follow through to a medium body, medium round tannins and a wonderful finish. Love the finish of this, which gives a hint of walnuts, dark tea and ripe fruit. Very sophisticated. A blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon."
Bodegas Caro was born of an alliance between two wine cultures, (French and Argentine), two noble grape varieties, (Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec), and two royal families of winemaking, (Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and Nicolas Catena.) The name of the winery, Bodegas Caro is a contraction of the two family names, CAtena and ROthschild. Their plan was to produce a wine that would combine their expertise and the signature grapes of each producer. Together, these families have made a wine which delivers immediate gratification and can also be cellared over the mid-term.
Malbec is a powerful, exuberant fruity grape variety that benefits from the structure and elegance given by the Cabernet. These two grape varieties go well together with the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Bodegas Caro has succeeded in making a wine that is flat-out gorgeous and immensely satisfying.
- Item #: i_380673Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "Approximately half of the volume of the 2017 Amancaya matured in oak barrels, and the other half was kept in concrete vats for one year. This comes from vineyards in Altamira, and the barrels used for the élevage are mostly in barriques produced by Lafite that have a very light toast, with the idea to preserve the aromatics of the wine and let it breath and provide structure in the élevage without interfering with the aromas. The oak is very nicely integrated and folded into the fruit, and the wine comes through as quite pure and fruit driven, with moderate ripeness and a harmonious palate. This was born as the classical second wine in a Bordeaux sense. This wine is sold in Argentina as Petit Caro. 350,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in December 2018."
60% to 70% Malbec, 30% to 40% Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep ruby color. The nose is expressive with notes of red fruits, coffee and black pepper. Complex on the palate with aromas of plums, fruit and spices, this well-balanced wine is an elegant expression of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Item #: i_380678Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The original red 2018 A Lisa is named after Han Vinding Diers' Danish grandmother and sourced from villages within 15 kilometers of Mainqué in Río Negro, so it's their village red. They had frost in the zone in 2018 and yields were decimated, so production plummeted from 90,000 to 70,000 bottles. This is mostly Malbec with some 9% Merlot and perhaps 1% Petit Verdot, and the full berries fermented in stainless steel. Only 15% to 20% of the volume matured in used French oak barrels for some nine months, while the rest was kept in stainless steel. It felt very fruit-forward at first, but it turned more serious with some air. It seemed to put on weight in the glass, showing more depth and layers, with clean aromas and a round and juicy palate with more clout than you'd think. It has more complexity than the varietals and comes through as tasty, long and dry."
- Item #: i_382549Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "As traditional as it gets, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon was kept in the winery until Patti thought the wine was ready to drink. He's in search of an elegant, classical and polished wine that still keeps the varietal character but does not show the effect of the wood. The color, aromas and flavors are quite developed, nuanced and polished, with complexity and detail. It does have the herbal and spicy character of the grape (all the textbook descriptors are there: tobacco, forest floor, something herbal) and the warmth of the vintage and the place. It's harmonious, with moderate alcohol and good freshness. It's just delicious, like a trip to the past."
- Item #: i_383068Bottle Size: 750mlThis cuvée takes its name from a small parcel of the Adrianna Vineyard that is completely covered with oval white stones and was the site of an ancient riverbed. The abundant stones provide optimal drainage and extreme temperatures. They absorb heat and moderate the nights, but also function like ice cubes after a very cold night. Stony soil Malbecs tend to be extremely aromatic, rich and luxurious, just like the River Stones Malbec from Adrianna. This wine can be enjoyed young or aged for decades.
- Item #: i_378528Bottle Size: 750mlThe epic tale of the noble Malbec grape is like no other, and the label for Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2017 pays tribute to the variety’s history in France and its rise in Argentina. Four female figures embody different landmarks in the history of the grape. Today, the Catena family’s fourth generation leads the high-altitude renaissance in Argentina, returning Malbec to the sky... where it belongs.
Of course this amazing label caught our interest immediately-- but even without such artwork adorning the bottle, we know the Catena family and family of wines because of the utmost quality found within each bottle that bears their name. That there is such a beautiful label, and one that fits well with this time of year, is really gilding the lily. A 95-point wine from the family that put the wines of Argentina on the map-- sounds like a win-win wine to us!
- Item #: i_382963Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97+James Suckling: 100JAMES SUCKLING 100 POINTS - "This is really exuberant at this stage with fantastic aromas of honeysuckle, salt, chalk and dried apples and pears. Full body. Dense, vivid fruit with a linear frame of wonderful, energetic acidity. The energy and length just goes on for minutes. Soulful white. Argentina’s answer to Montrachet. Stares you straight in the eyes."
WINE ADVOCATE 97+ POINTS - "The 2018 White Bones Chardonnay shows a slightly showier personality than the 2018 White Stones, but it's less balsamic and minty than the 2017 White Bones. But this bottling is always a little more aromatic and forward than the more backward White Stones; there are flowers, pollen, herbs and white pepper. But both whites are more about the place and vintage, more about the chalky soils that give them a very specific mouthfeel, with a dry, austere personality. 6,000 bottles were filled in May 2019."
- Item #: i_380164Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The full clusters were pressed, and 80% of the juice fermented in stainless steel while the rest was in oak barrels, then the full volume matured in used French oak barrels for nine months. It has a note of popcorn, a smoky and spicy whiff and a balanced palate where the acidity is very integrated, fresh but with some density."
- Item #: i_377265Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Lots of blackberry and blueberry character with a black-tea undertone. Turns to flowers. Medium to full body, fresh acidity and a long and gorgeous finish. Vivid and bright. Transparent. Drink now."
- Item #: i_377302Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94James Suckling: 92WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "...fermented in tank with full clusters and finished fermenting after pressing, without skins. It's serious and elegant, with the year's signature freshness. 2016 has really marked the wines with great freshness. This is serious and with zero sweetness, complete and direct. "
JAMES SCUKLING 92 POINTS - "Plenty of cocoa powder as well as violets follow through to some serious tannins that are already well integrated. They and the crisp acidity give the dry finish some assertive power."
- Item #: i_378232Bottle Size: 750mlDecanter: 97DECANTER WORLD WIDE AWARD 97 POINTS - "Very perfumed floral nuances scented with some fresh herbaceous notes, slightly tangy mineral nose too. Lovely freshness and chalky tannins, nice follow through and well-textured. Great fruit purity, attractive use of oak."
- Item #: i_380810Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 95Argentina continues to put out wines that offer good value, and it's more than just Malbec. That lesser-known Bordeaux variety might have helped garner them recognition, but many of the best wines here (and in the rest of the world for that matter) rely on the art of blending other varieties to create a more complex and balanced whole. That was fundamental to the "Clos de los Siete" wine project, whose aim was to make a well-priced, widely distributed wine that was also high in quality. With a score of 95 Points from James Suckling for the 2017 vintage, we'd call it a success! And what's more, we're offering it at the best price possible, $15.95!
The project's founder, Michel Roland, built his world-famous reputation as a winemaking consultant and master blender, bringing many wineries up to the standards of the modern wine palate, and helping launch new wines. His first step toward "Clos de los Siete" came when he helped find a large enough site in the high-altitude foothills of the Andes mountains that could grow high-quality grapes (which would become the "clos," the French term for an enclosed vineyard). The next step was to bring in six winemaking friends, forming the "siete" (seven), whose four separate wineries could help to vinify the various plots in smaller batches from which Michel would create a final wine.
Bright berry aromas of blackberries and black cherry lead the way, with hints of cedar and vanilla from the aging in small French oak barrels. In the mouth, the sweetness of fruit leads the way, but it is quickly apparent that there is a beautiful line of balancing acidity, attributed to the cool high-altitude nights in the Uco Valley. Juicy and medium-full in body, the palate has flavors reminiscent of woodsy undergrowth accompanying the berries and subtle creamy vanilla. The finish is clean and dry, with tangy fruit and light tannin that is soft due to the perfectly ripened fruit. We suggest drinking a wine like this on the cooler side (60 F), especially as the weather warms up; that will make it perfect with your mixed grill or weeknight socializing with a charcuterie plate!
JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "A very refined, creamy wine, showing blackberries and blueberries with chocolate and light hazelnut notes. Medium to full body. The fine tannins are polished and creamy and the beautiful, reserved finish goes on for a really long time. Wow! Best ever, because of its length and beauty. One for the palate or the cellar. Drink or hold."
- Item #: i_382774Bottle Size: 750mlCocodrilo is a new project from Paul Hobbs, with this wine appearing for the first time in the United States. This Cabernet-dominant blend boasts an enviable combination of power and finesse. It is full-bodied with pure, concentrated fruit and is certain to please Hobbs' many fans. Paul Hobbs is well-known for his exceptional California wines, crafting masterful renditions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. When visiting Argentina in 1989, Paul became enamored with its people, the culture and the huge potential for viticulture. He and his Argentine partners founded Viña Cobos and helped take winemaking in Argentina to a new level. He has had great success making premium priced wines and Cocodrilo demonstrates his ability to make a compelling Bordeaux-style blend at an affordable price.
Opaque purple in color. An aromatic display of exotic spices and concentrated black fruits including black currant and black cherry along with notes of cedar and baker's chocolate. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied with mouth-filling crème de cassis, ripe black cherry and blackberry flavors. The tannins are fine-grained and oh so silky. The wine demonstrates stunning purity and finishes with noteworthy length; very impressive.
- Item #: i_380683Bottle Size: 750ML"A Swiss businessman and Napa vintner Donald Hess bought Bodega Colomé in 2001 and immediately set about modernizing the vineyards and winery in the remote Salta region of the Andes, in the north of Argentina. The estate Malbec, a 100 percent varietal bottling, blends fruit from four vineyards ranging from 5,700 to a dizzying 10,200 feet in altitude; the sun exposure at such elevations promotes thicker skins on berries and thus a more concentrated wine. After 15 months of aging in French oak barriques, this wine spent six months in bottle. It's an expression of a daunting terroir at an approachable price." - Kim Marcus, Wine Spectator
- Item #: i_380452Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91James Suckling: 92JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "Here is the Salta mountain freshness! A really enticing combination of melon, floral and a wide spectrum of delicate citrus aromas. I love the balance of juicy fruit and crisp acidity that gives the bold, long finish a lot of life. "
The characteristic white wine grape of Argentina has recently been linked with the Malvasia grape vis-à-vis DNA research. And the wonderful aromas released certainly suggest a Malvasia heritage: notes of peach, apricot, honeysuckle and general floral tones; simply beautiful. The palate echoes the florals and again, stone fruits come to the fore, all enwrappedin a light background minerality.
Substainably farm Vineyards.Sustainable winegrowing not only improves wine quality, but helps to compete in the global market place where consumers are increasingly interested in knowing that the foods and wines they enjoy are produced in an environmentally friendly manner.” Robert P. Koch, President & CEO of the Wine Institute.
- Item #: i_381178Bottle Size: 750mlWe have enjoyed Susana Balbo's Crios wines for years and it's easy to figure out why... These are very well made, immensely flavorful wines that showcase the terroir of their homeland while not costing a fortune-- bravo for this bang-for-a-buck beauty!
Susana Balbo not only became the first female enologist in Argentina after graduating with honors from Don Bosco University in Mendoza in 1981, but also was brave enough (or crazy enough as some would have thought at that time) to build an export category for Malbec when no one knew about this grape variety.
Crios is a brand that combines the sensibility of Susana's 30+ years of experience with her never-ending quest for innovation. Born in Argentina, a large country with a wide range of climates, soils and altitudes, Crios wines are harvested from specific areas in Mendoza and Salta where grapes are optimal for the fruit-forward style of the focus on for this brand.
Our notes: "Dark red and black plums on the nose, joined by midnight garden floral scents, blackberry, dark spices, black licorice, herbal notes. Lush texture in the mouth with rounded, soft tannins and light acidity on the finish. The palate reiterates the nose with tons of mixed black fruits, vanilla bean and lighter spices. Soft red and blue fruits on the long finish." Pair with tuna steak, lamb, hamburgers.
Susana not only became the first female enologist in Argentina after graduating with honors from Don Bosco University in Mendoza in 1981, but also was brave enough (or crazy enough as some would have thought at that time) to build an export category for Malbec when no one knew about this grape variety.
Susana elaborated this distinguished variety which stands out for its notes of black cherries, spices and violets.
In a few words:
FRUITY WITH SPICY NOTES.
- Item #: i_382548Bottle Size: 750mlCuvelier Los Andes is a project from Bordeaux's legendary Cuvelier family, owners of Le Crock, Camensac and Léoville-Poyferré. It is bright purple-colored, with an opaque center and a muted nose that requires plenty of air and coaxing to unfurl the heady, ripe black fruit and violet aromas with a lactic overtone. It has a full-bodied palate and a lush texture, thick and dense, with good acidity, freshness and balance. This is a very good, powerful Malbec at a very good price.
- Item #: i_380419Bottle Size: 750MLCuvelier Los Andes is owned by Bertrand and Jean-Guy Cuvelier, part-owners of renowned Bordeaux Chateau Leoville-Poyferre in Saint Julien. The estate is located in the Uco Valley at the foothills of the Andes and encompasses 115 acres of still young vines. The consulting winemaker is Michel Rolland."