Drawing up a list of wines to recommend in my column this week on Argentina’s “other reds” was difficult, if only because there were so many candidates I could have included. Argentina has such a diversity of quality red wines that we shouldn’t equate the country simply with malbec. Here are some others worthy of our attention:
Nieto Senetiner, Bonarda Reserva 2010, Mendoza.
Spicy and perhaps a tad hot in alcohol, but with appealing nutty, meaty and juicy flavors that turn to mushroom and soy after an hour or so of breathing. (Winebow)
Bodega Bressia, Monteagrelo Cabernet Franc 2009, Mendoza.
A reticent nose, though the white pepper and bell pepper characteristics of the variety lurk in the background. The flavors are also true cab franc — cherry and pepper, with some mint to lift the finish. For Virginia wine lovers, this is more a California-style cab franc. (Kysela)
Alfredo Roca Pinot Noir 2010, Mendoza.
Rich and deep, with black fruit flavors reminiscent of an Oregon pinot, but at a fraction of the price. Great value. (Hand Picked Selections/Republic National)
Altos de San Isidro, Barbera Reserve 2009, Cafayate, Salta
This quintessentially food-friendly Italian grape shows well in the altitude of Salta, producing a juicy, fun wine with enough flair to match hearty grilled meats. (Vineyard Brands/Bacchus in Washington and Maryland; J.W. Sieg in Virginia)
Inca Pinot Noir 2010, Calchaqui Valley, Salta.
$9 ★ 1/2
Who says delicious pinot noir under $10 is unattainable? Great value. (M Touton Selection)
Ruca Malen Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2008, Mendoza.
Dark and brooding, with slightly gritty tannins that give the wine enough grip to hold its dark fruit flavors together. This winery also makes a nice petit verdot 2009 reserve ($20), though I prefer the cabernet. For white wine lovers, the 2010 Torrontes is excellent. (Opici Imports/J.W. Sieg)
Bodega Francois Lurton, Tierra de Luna Alta Colleccion Bonarda 2010, Mendoza.
$10 ★ 1/2
Nicely perfumed, with hints of lavender and violets, and flavors of blueberry and pomegranate. There’s also a hint of Band-Aid, which detracts from the overall effect and prevents the wine from excelling. (M Touton Selection)
Cueva de las Manos, Old Vines Bonarda 2010, Mendoza.
$15 ★ 1/2
Clean and fruity, starts off slow but opens nicely with a stylish texture that could be easy to miss if you aren’t paying attention. (Kysela)
Tilia Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Mendoza.
$12 ★ 1/2
Good cabernet fruit and heft, with a slightly sweet finish. Nice wine for burgers and casual meat dishes. (Winebow)
Tierra de Antes Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Mendoza.
$9 ★ 1/2
Fresh and lively, light-bodied and less ripe than most, with a slight CO2 spritz on the palate. Great value. (Broadbent/Country Vintner)
Ernesto Catena, Siesta en al Tahuantinsuyu Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Mendoza.
$25 ★ 1/2
Enticingly aromatic, with blackcurrant, blackberry, mocha and toffee over a whiff of flinty smoke. On the palate, it finishes with a rich caramel flavor. Nice wine, though the bottle is obscenely heavy. (Vineyard Brands/Bacchus in Washington and Maryland; J.W. Sieg in Virginia)
Maipe Bonarda Reserve Old Vine 2010, Mendoza.
$15 ★ 1/2
This label excels at inexpensive malbec, and this bonarda shows well, too. It is rich and ripe, a better effort than the slightly sour regular bonarda ($10). (Kysela)
Star ratings: ★Exceptional ★Excellent ★Very Good