Sep 15 2010

Wine Class: South America 101

Which side are you on? In Bordeaux, France, that question could mean you generally prefer wines that showcase more of the left bank/Garonne river (Cabernet Sauvignon) or the right bank/Dordogne river (Merlot.)

When it comes to South American wines though, “which side are you on?” is more of a continental conundrum. It can refer to the enormous swath of the Andes mountains that separates South America’s two largest wine producers—Chile on the left, and Argentina on the right.

Here at Just Grapes, we say you don’t need to pick sides when it comes to wines from Chile and Argentina. Each country produces distinctive, exciting, carefully constructed, and flavorful bottles, prized as much for their consistent value as their quality—whether it’s a beautifully balanced Carmenère from Chile, a classic Malbec from Argentina, or any number of other varietals grown in each region—both countries produce distinctive Cabernet Sauvignons, for example.

Join us on Thursday, September 16th, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. as we dive deep into the growing regions surrounding the Andes for our Wines of South America Class (click here for tickets.) We’ll travel with our taste buds and explore several varietals from that part of the world, identifying the characteristics that make each wine uniquely “left Andes” or “right Andes”, including:

2009 La Yunta,Torrontes, La Rioja, Argentina [$8.79]

Notably aromatic of green melon and white peach. It has balanced citrus flavor with a touch of French oak to provide a crisp yet lingering finish. Wonderful as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to seafood or poultry.

2009 MontGras Sauvignon Blanc, San Antonio Valley, Chile [$10.39]

Pale lemon yellow color with hints of green; intense fresh scents of citrus, gooseberry, and cut grass; light bodied, racy acidity, displaying flavors of lemon zest, grass, and green apple.

2008 La Posta, Pizzella Vineyard Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina [$13.59]

89 Pts – Robert Parker

Che! Check out this delicious Malbec from Argentina’s wine country. Aromas of red cherries, raspberries, and blueberries waft from the glass along with notes of soft caramel from the oak. On the palate, the fresh berry flavors mingle with spice notes in the finish. Drink like a true Porteño and enjoy this wine with everything from hamburgers and chicken to pasta and mild cheeses. –Julie’s Staff Pick

2008 Errazuriz, “Don Maximiano Estate Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon, Aconcagua Valley, Chile [$15.99]

Phenomenal value from a remarkable producer. Errazuriz produces deeply extracted rich, spicy Cabernet Sauvignon. This single vineyard example shows notes of boysenberry and raspberry, with some Gnome’s Foot characteristics and a long finish. If this wine came out of California, you’d pay at least double the price, but since it isn’t you can enjoy it for under $20! – Joshua’s Staff Pick

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