As many of us are working our way out of deep snows and cold winds, it’s enjoyable to remember that this is the busiest time of the year for wine producers in South America. Grapes are getting ripe in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Brazil, and the days are turning golden.
A highlight of visits to Mendoza by wine tourists this time of the year is the region’s flamboyant harvest festival — this year not only celebrating the harvest of vintage 2016, but also the 80th anniversary of the festival, first held in 1936.
So let’s raise our glasses — filled with Southern Hemisphere wine, of course — and toast the harvest. We’ve even added in a white from Uruguay for those who don’t prefer reds.
Garzón Uruguay Sauvignon Blanc 2014 ($16)
Very aromatic blue-green herbal flavors, with very much boxwood aromas and flavors.
Black Box Valle Central Chile Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($6/half liter)
Very sweet/fruity with some green stemmy flavors, not exactly what most lovers of classic cab are looking for.
Trivento Argentina Reserve Malbec 2014 ($10)
Creamy boysenberry and blueberry flavors with a nice tannic edge.
Trivento Mendoza reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($10)
Plummy dark fruit with some caramel barrel notes — rounded and fruit forward.
Concha y Toro “Serie Riberas” Gran Reserva Central Coast Malbec 2013 ($16)
Classic flavors of dark cherries and tart greenbriers with very well-structured with walnutty tannins — a good food wine.
Vina Cobos “Felino” Mendoza Malbec 2014 ($17)
Rounded, long on the palate with dark flavors of both bing and red cherries. Quite juicy.
Los Vascos Grande reserve Colchagua Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($17)
Good solid cabernet flavors of dark berries, but also with the herbal “weediness” that cab sometimes exhibits.
Le Dix de Los Vascos Colchaugua Red Blend 2012 ($51)
Big on the palate, with lots of creamy raspberry and purple fruit flavors accented by rich chocolate and lots of tannin. Even with a couple of years in the bottle, this cabernet-based blend would be better decanted for an hour or two.
Trivento “Eolo” Mendoza Malbec 2013 ($71)
Very enjoyable sipping solo or with food — vibrant yet dark blackberry fruitiness with some edginess of tangy peach skins.