We tend to think of value wines as being good but inexpensive bottles — and there are several nice ones in this list fitting that description — but "value" exists at all price levels, even the higher ones, if the wine delivers. These do.
These 16 bottles are from Chile and Argentina, two countries known for great wines that just keep getting better and for innovative winemakers. There are some familiar names here — Susana Balbo and Salentein from Argentina and Concha y Toro from Chile, but also two newer producers worth watching — and tasting: Chile's Viña Leyda and Argentina's BenMarco, an offshoot of Balbo, with a different winemaker.
Viña Leyda Falaris Hill Leyda Valley Chardonnay 2015 ($18).
Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Limari Valley Chardonnay 2014 ($22).
A little tight with minerally, citrus flavors and some hints of neutral wood.
Susana Balbo “Signature” Valle de Uco Barrel-Fermented Torrontés 2014 ($24).
A well-made torrontés, better for food (like poultry) than sipping, with lots of neutral wood notes; somewhat tangy with subdued fruit.
Viña Leyda Kadun Leyda Valley Sauvignon Gris 2015 ($26).
Very spicy and green-herbal, though it lets up a bit in its finishing intensity.
Salentein San Pablo Single-Vineyard Valle de Uco Chardonnay 2013 ($55).
Juicy with mild apple flavors and lots of oak notes in the finish.
Susana Balbo “Signature” Valle de Uco Rosé 2016 ($20).
Very good combination of strawberry fruitiness and lean tartness — good for food pairings.
BenMarco Valle de Uco Malbec 2013 ($18).
Very nice for the price — quite smooth with dark fruits and dusty tannins.
BenMarco Valle de Uco Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($20).
Ripe, rounded cherries, savory undertones, and nice tannins with a full body but lean finish.
Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Rapel Valley Carmenère 2014 ($25).
Very nicely done; rich and rounded dark fruits and pleasant green-savory notes.
Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Valle Central Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($25).
Full-bodied with nice, tart blackberry flavors, good tannins, and savory flavors at the end.
Viña Leyda Cahuil Leyda Valley Pinot Noir 2015 ($30).
Smooth and well-rounded with integrated tannins, cherry fruit, and some cola and rooty notes.
BenMarco Expresivo Valle de Uco Red Wine 2013 ($35).
Mouth-filling and very smooth with creamy raspberry and cranberry flavors and hints of mellow wood.
Salentein Numina Gran Corte Valle de Uco Red Wine2013 ($38).
This old-block Bordeaux-style blend is tight and tangy with mature red fruits and notes of tobacco and cigar box.
Susana Balbo Brioso Agrelo Red Blend 2013 ($44).
Rich and ripe but not heavy; good tannins and balancing acidity. Enjoy it now, but enjoy it more in a few years.
Salentein Primus Valle de Uco Malbec 2013 ($58).
A tart mixture of red and purple fruits with good acidity to get the gastric juices flowing.
Concha y Toro Don Melchor Puente Alto Maipo Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($125).
Delicious cabernet sauvignon fruitiness, though not fruit-forward with savory notes, some creaminess, and prominent but smooth tannins.