As neighbors, Argentina and Uruguay share many things. Their capitals of Buenos Aires and Montevideo are along opposite sides of the wide Rio de la Plata bay that feeds into the Atlantic Ocean, and their inland boundaries are marked by the Uruguay River.
Increasingly, too, they are sharing a reputation as exporters of fine wine, as Uruguay scrambles to catch up with its better-known, larger neighbor to the west. Already we are beginning to see more and more enjoyable and affordable wines from the top Uruguayan producer Garzón.
Here are 10 wines from the two countries, mainly from Argentina; the reds are mostly malbec or malbec blends and the whites are a variety.
Rutini “Trumpeter” Reserve Torrontés 2015 ($11). A very nice wine, especially for the price, with typical torrontés floral notes, but with a good, savory balance that draws it to food.
Bodega Garzón Uruguay Albariño 2015 ($17). A big wine for an albariño, a tad on the sweet side, but with a lot of savory notes – perfect for poultry in a cream sauce.
Bodega Garzón Uruguay Sauvignon Blanc 2015 ($17). Very well-made sauvignon, with typical green fruits and lime flavors, yet not too severe or too vegetal.
Catena “High Mountain Vines” Mendoza Chardonnay 2014 ($20). Long-time Catena fans should note this is a price and quality step down – an affordable, entry-level-style chardonnay that has the sweet, vanilla notes popularized by Kendall Jackson.
Domaine Bousquet Mendoza Grande Reserve Malbec 2013 ($15). Ripe, tart cranberry and other red fruits – an agreeably lean malbec, but not complex.
Catena “High Mountain Vines” Mendoza Malbec 2013 ($24). Pleasant cherry and mulberry flavors, well balanced with a bit of tanginess – nice for sipping or with food
Achaval Ferrer Mendoza Malbec 2014 ($25). Nice, gamy, dark fruit flavors with a bit of a tang – full and rounded.
Achaval Ferrer “Quimera” Mendoza Red Blend 2012 ($33). A good food wine, lean and racy with dominant, penetrating flavors of black raspberries.
Susana Balbo “Brioso” Agrelo red wine 2013 ($44). A lovely Bordeaux blend of creamy yet intense fruit, mainly raspberry. Unfiltered and unfined, it is also a little hot.
Achaval Ferrer “Altamira” Mendoza Malbec 2013 ($115). Nice, full wine with lots of lean raspberry flavors – a cellar dweller that will develop depth and complexity with age. If you drink it now, decant it first.