Columnist, Food

★★★Exceptional  ★★Excellent ★Very Good

Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Here are just a few of my favorite reds from Argentina other than the signature malbec.

Bodega Chacra Barda Pinot Noir 2010


Patagonia, Argentina, $30

Light and austere, like the minor Burgundy appellation of Santenay; coyly seductive, drawing you back as the evening progresses, revealing a little more with each sip.

Kobrand/Republic National: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, MacArthur Beverages; and on the list at Dickson Wine Bar, I Ricchi, Tortilla Coast.

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

★★1 / 2

Mendoza, Argentina, $22

The Catena and the Catena Alta ($40) are the epitome of Argentine cabernet: Old World flair meets New World energy in a tango of style and flavor that remains fresh and vibrant from the first sip through the last drop.

Winebow: Available in the District at Best D.C. Supermarket, Calvert Woodley, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Circle Wine & Liquor, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Continental Wine & Liquor, Pearson’s, Rodman’s, Safeway on L Street, Wide World of Wines; on the list at Blue Duck Tavern, Cactus Cantina, Fogo de Chao, Lauriol Plaza, Little Fountain Cafe. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s in Bethesda; Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; all Montgomery County liquor stores.

Angulo Innocenti Cabernet Sauvignon 2010


La Consulta, Mendoza, Argentina, $20

This is an impressive cabernet, deep and brooding with a silky texture yet an appealing roughness that adds a sexy quality. The flavors are dark fruits without a hint of greenness, and the wine only gets better the next night, indicating it should improve with a few years of age — if you can wait.

Vineyard Brands/J.W. Sieg: Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Oakton Wine Shop, Out of Site Wines in Vienna, and Unwined in Alexandria and Belleview.

Nuna Bonarda Reserve 2009


Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina, $17

Juicy with bright fruit flavors, this is a fun wine that will pair well with most casual foods.

Kysela: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Magruder’s, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Watergate Wine & Beverage, Whole Foods Market Foggy Bottom and Tenleytown. Available in Maryland at Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia, Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis, Urban Cellars in Baltimore, Village Green Spirit Shop and the Wine Seller in Ellicott City; on the list at Clementine’s in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Curious Grape in Arlington, Balducci’s in McLean, Forlano’s Market in the Plains, Galloping Grape in Warrenton, Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna, Unwined in Alexandria and Belleview; on the list at Red Fox Inn in Middleburg.

Nieto Senetiner Pinot Noir Reserva 2010


Mendoza, Argentina, $13

With dark fruit flavors that seem to become more clear and focused about an hour after opening, this wine outshines the vast majority of pinot noirs in the under-$20 range. The 2010 is on shelves now, and the distributor is already moving on to the 2011.

Winebow: Available in the District at Bell Wine & Spirits, Congressional Liquors, D’Vines, Freedom Market, Good Libations, Magruder’s, Metro Wine & Spirits, Mr. T Grocery Store, Press Liquors, Samber Market, Sav-On Liquors, Virginia Market, Windows Cafe & Market; on the list at Ceiba, Cuba Libre, the Reef, Taylor Gourmet, Tonic.

Los Ailos Syrah Reserva 2009


Tulum Valley, San Juan, Argentina, $13

Rich with blueberry flavors and a hint of smoke, this syrah is meaty and well balanced, without the confected oak flavors that mar many New World syrahs. Worth stocking up on for your summer cookouts.

M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Best in Liquors, Cairo Wine & Liquor, Central Liquors, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Spirits, Metro K Supermarket, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Samber Market, Windows Cafe & Market. Available in Maryland at Franklin Liquors in Ijamsville; Frederick Wine House, Old Farm Liquors, Riverside Liquor, Village Mart Beer & Wine, Viniferous, Westridge Liquors and Ye Old Spirit Shop in Frederick; Nick’s of Clinton in Waldorf; Rosewick Wine & Spirits in La Plata. Available in Virginia at Ashburn Wine Shop, Cork & Fork in Gainesville, Leesburg Vintner, the Italian Store in Arlington, Unwined in Alexandria, Vienna Vintner.