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Our South American Wine Buying Guide

South America is a major new world force in wine production and export.

Argentina is the world’s 5th largest global wine producer, while Chile sits in 6th position, making these two countries the biggest players in the South American region.

Their star varieties over-shadow their French counterparts – which is no mean feat. 

So, where should you start looking for your next favourite wine?

Where: Mendoza region

This region is considered Argentina’s premier wine region. It’s in the foothills of the Andes, which means it’s vineyards sit at some of the highest altitudes in the world. The region is mostly known for its Malbecs but you’ll also find a good selection of Cabernet, Chardonnay and Tempranillo from Mendoza.

What: Argentinian Malbec

Argentinian Malbecs are known for their intense fruit flavours and velvety texture. Because of the climate, the wines have less less tannin than their French siblings. This means that the wine is much easier to drink now (although would still cellar well if needed). These are a great match for a summer BBQ or any grilled meat, meaning you’ll be picking up an Argentinian Malbec to have with dinner year round.

Our picks

Gran Lomo Malbec

 The Gran Lomo Malbec is medium bodied and deep violet in colour. When you take a nose of this wine, you’ll smell ripe red fruit, berries and soft plum. It’s smooth and silky on the palate, and has a long and smooth finish.

Alamos Malbec

This wine has a dark purple colour and has scents of bright black cherry. It’s a full and rich wine, with flavours of cassis and black raspberry, a touch of chocolate and a sprinkling of sweet spice from light oak ageing.

 

Where: Central Valley region 

This is Chile’s most productive and internationally known region. It’s close to the Chilean capital (Santiago) and sits directly across the Andes from Mendoza region. Unlike the Mendoza region, Central Valley has a coastal influence from Pacific ocean. Turn to the Central Valley for a good selection of Cabernet, Carmenere and Sauvignon Blanc.

What: Chilean Carmenere

Carmenere is a member of Cabernet family, but has a softer, gentler tannin. It’s a medium bodied wine, with bright fruit flavours balanced by an earthy savoury depth. This depth means it can hold its own when paired with smoked meats, spicy dishes and strong, hard cheeses. It’s a wine that should be drunk young. All that to say, if you pick up a bottle now, it will be immediately easy to drink.

Our picks

Terra Noble Estate Carmenere

This wine has aromas of red berries, cherry, currant. It’s got a balanced and juicy palate, soft round tannins and slight spiced notes to finish.

Ventisquero Reserva Carmenere

Pour this into a glass and enjoy its deep cherry red colour. You’ll find it full of the aromas of fresh black and red fruit. In terms of flavour, look for a touch of spice and hints of chocolate and vanilla, with big volume and a long body.