After all we’ve endured this winter, it’s only natural to start thinking about grilling outdoors a little bit early. And in my mind there’s no better wine to pair with barbecued or grilled meats than Argentine malbec, which is juicy, rich, full of flavor and yet softer in tannins than cabernet. It’s true that we have to be a bit warier of this popular wine category than we were in the not-too-distant past, when they all tasted good regardless of price and you could choose almost indiscriminately. It’s also true that we usually have to spend more now to get a delicious bottle, but these picks from the Land of the Tango are all outstanding in their price ranges.
Angulo Innocenti Malbec, La Consulta, Mendoza, 2012
This is an absolute steal. Made from grapes in high-altitude Uco Valley vineyards, which experience wide swings between day and night temperatures, the wine is florally perfumed, with enticing violet, tobacco and black cherry aromas. Soft, ripe and round, with sensual notes of plum, coffee bean and mocha, this has an understated creamy richness that would play beautifully with ribs.
$20, Vino di Vino, Newton
Achaval Ferrer Malbec, Mendoza, 2012
Achaval Ferrer remains one of the superstars of South American wine; his style is earthier and more terroir-driven, medium rather than full in body, with a substantial acid structure. The nose of this wine is expressively raspberry-like, with floral, cola and herb-laced scents. Quite intense and concentrated on the palate, it offers understated but evocative plum-accented flavors. Pair it with a charred sirloin or hanger steak.
$30, Cambridge Wine & Spirits
Renacer Punto Final Reserva Malbec, 2012
An engaging blend of Uco Valley and Lujan de Cuyo fruit, this wine spends almost a year in barrels. It has a cocoa-like, dark berry, molten chocolate character that is hard to resist. Soft in texture, with almond-like flavor accents and a red-fruit-driven finish, this would be my choice to accompany a sizzling barbecued chicken.
$20, Cambridge Wine & Spirits