With the winter holidays coming up, it's a great time to stock up on wine -- and of course we hope Argentine wines will be part of the mix for your festivities. Argentine wines are meant for sharing and celebrating, so there are plenty to fit the bill. Here are some of our favorite pairings.
Baked ham. The alternating sharp and mellow flavors of ham require a wine that offers several different shades of flavor. For around $17, you can have the rare and fascinating taste of Argentine barbera in the Altos de San Isidro Reserve 2009. Got some fruit stuck on your ham? The ReNacer Enamore 2009, one of our top blends, can echo those aromas while anchoring the meat's earthier flavors. Bit of glaze on there, too? At just $12, the Amado Sur 2009 blend by Trivento has you covered, with citrus and berry flavors mingling with licorice.
Roast beef. Yes, this is territory for serious wine with deep flavors and a touch of nostalgia for Bordeaux. Argentina is up to the task. The 2006 Bianchi Particular Merlot provides the perfect foundation for contemplation, with a complex bouquet and elegant finish. And there are Bordeaux-style blends, too, like the smoky, endlessly developing Norton Privada 2009. But if we had to choose just one, with price being no object, we'd go for the Bramare Marchiori Vineyard Malbec 2010. If you like Argentine wine - heck, if you like wine at all - you won't be disappointed.
Game. The strong flavors of venison, wild boar, and other creatures of the forest require wines of similar power. Andeluna"s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, from vineyards at 4,200 feet, spreads deep blackberry and black currant all over the tongue. For a blend - and we have many to recommend - one of the best values is Casarena's luscious, concentrated Reserva Sinergy 2011, at just $20. Sharing with a crowd? Pick up a magnum of Finca Decero Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 for just $30.
Of course, holiday drinking isn't just about the main course. You'll need some sparklers to kick things off (we'll be reviewing more soon), perhaps a spicy and inexpensive malbec for your mulled wine, and maybe some sweet treats to finish. The latter isn't Argentina's forte quite yet, but there are plenty of wines in the pipeline to guarantee that each holiday season will be better than the last. Salud!