Although Argentina is known for malbec and Chile for carménère, these neighboring South American countries are also home to other red wine grapes that some might find surprising. For example, a historically important grape called país viejo, also known as mission, is extensively grown in Chile. The variety is believed to have arrived on Spanish colonial ships in the 16th century. Cabernet franc, famous in France’s Bordeaux, is of growing importance in Argentina. The following are two examples.
J. Bouchon 2019 País Viejo, Maule, Chile
Bought • Grapevine Wines, 309 South Kirkwood Road, in April for $13.99
Description • If you’re looking for a light-bodied, refreshing red that’s great for sipping in warm weather, give this wine a try. It comes from grapes grown on vines that are at least 100 years old and is made by Bouchon, a top Chilean producer. Fresh, fruity and a little earthy, it tastes of cherries, strawberries and other red fruit with a touch of mint. Very easy to drink, it’s best enjoyed chilled as an aperitif wine or with a variety of foods including smoked salmon and Margherita pizza.
Aguijón de Abeja Obrera 2018 Cabernet Franc, San Juan, Argentina
Bought • Grapevine Wines, 309 South Kirkwood Road, in April for $15.99
Description • Aguijón de Abeja is a project of brothers Pablo and Héctor Durigutti, two highly regarded Argentine winemakers. The brand focuses on viticultural regions outside of Mendoza and grape varieties that best represent each area. Delicious and elegant, this medium-bodied red is savory and herbaceous with a mouthwatering acidity that makes you want to take sip after sip. It’s a versatile wine that pairs with steak or roast chicken and would bring out the flavor of such spices as oregano, rosemary and thyme.
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