Top Argentinian Wines
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I was more than impressed with the huge range of grape varieties and the various expressions that different producers coaxed out of them. Down in Patagonia, Bodega del Fin del Mundo is responsible for some seriously appealing sparkling wine. NQN made one of the best Pinot Noirs (its Malma bottling) I tasted all year. Familia Zuccardi, in Mendoza, produces standout bottlings of everything from Bonarda and Tempranillo to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay—and beyond. Then there are the producers that Philadelphians might not be as familiar with right now but that will likely grow in the coming years: Look for wines from Familia Belasco, Piattelli, Casarena, Mendel, Serrera, and Doña Paula.
Eric Simonis, general manager and sommelier at Lacroix at The Rittenhouse (210 W. Rittenhouse Sq., 215-546-9000; lacroixrestaurant.com), stocks his famous cellar with a wide range of wines from Argentina. He attributes their success to both their value and their overall quality, adding that the wines of Argentina are generally easy to love: Even at their most complex, the focus on expressive, often layered fruit flavors make them exceptionally appealing to consumers at all levels of knowledge—both those who simply want to enjoy a nice glass of wine, and those who want to analyze a bottle for all its constituent complexities.
Explains Mayer: “What we are getting are wines with characteristics that showcase the regions—their climate, soils, and the fine art of the men that work the vineyards and make the wines. They are equilibrated, balanced. They do not override or cover the taste of meals. Our wines get along very well with meals.”
“Our wines,” he sums up, “give pleasure.” Wine-lovers all over the United States, and certainly right here in Philadelphia, would enthusiastically agree. I know I do.