South America: Beyond Wine Bargains
When wines from Argentina and Chile began appearing on US retail shelves in the late 20th century, their initial reputation was something along the lines of “good cheap wine”.
However, around the same time, a number of people and companies flocked to South America to begin the process of creating high-quality wines, taking advantage of the continent’s high elevations, ideal climates, and mineral-rich soils. Entire plots of land were converted to vineyards; other vines were pulled out and replanted; “flying” winemaker consultants descended into the wineries; state-of-the-art facilities were built; and many other investments of time and expense were introduced to Argentina and Chile specifically.
Getting great wine from vines takes time, and over the last few years, we are starting to — pardon the pun — enjoy the fruits of those labors.
Recently, Joe Roberts — author of the 1 Wine Dude blog — wrote a piece in Palate Press titled Chilean and Argentinian Wines Exceed Bargain Bin Standards, which covers the history of wine in South America and some outstanding examples that have elevated the category from “bargain bin” to “serious and collectible” bottles.
Joe also wrote a great review of De Martino Single Vineyard “Las Cruces” Old Bush Vines, describing it as “… the full package: tobacco smoke, meat, chocolate, dark plum, juicy and silky … Focused, expressive, and sure to be empty at your dinner table in before-you-know-it timeframes.”
Additionally, Joe has been posting wine reviews on Twitter, and had some nice words for Ruca Malen Chardonnay, Ruca Malen Malbec, Ruca Malen Petit Verdot, Kinien Malbec, Kinien Don Raul, and Yauquen Cabernet Sauvignon; De Martino Legado Syrah; De Martino Altos Los Toros, De Martino Alto de Piedras, De Martino Limavida, De Martino El Leon, and De Martino Legado Chardonnay.