Argentine Wines Of Good Parentage

Argentina not only produces excellent wines, but it also produces great wine stories.  Consider the wines of Susana Balbo. Balbo is one of the greatest winemakers of South America — having made wine in Argentina ever since she graduated in 1981 with an enology degree — and has consulted widely internationally. For about the past two decades, she has had her own name on the label.

Trivento is a more-corporate story, but a good quality and value one. Like Montes and other Chilean winegrowers, Concha y Toro decided to cross the mountains to Mendoza in the mid-1990's and founded a winery there as well as buying up literally thousands of acres of vineyard land. Trivento is a good name — literally three winds that sweep the high plains of Mendoza: the Polar, Zonda and Sudestada.

Now that you know the stories, take a look at a quick review for each. Then, sit back, pour yourself a glass, and enjoy!

Susana Balbo "Crios" Argentina torrontes 2014 ($14). Very floral — aromas of honeysuckle and flavors of ripe pears and dried fruit with a lightly creamy finish.

Susana Balbo "Crios" Mendoza malbec 2014 ($14).  Gamey tastes and fresh flavors with tangy raspberry fruit and a finishing raspiness that reminds of sangiovese.

Susana Balbo "Brioso" Agenlo Mendoza red wine 2012 ($45). A cabernet franc-dominated Bordeaux blend with mature black fruits, lots of integrated mellow wood notes and some hints of bacon – overall, well-balanced with good acidity but not overly lean. Nice, complex red.

Susana Balbo "Signature" Mendoza cabernet sauvignon 2012 ($25).  A great steak wine — tangy black raspberry fruit with lots of spiciness and a lean, crisp finish.

Susana Balbo "Signature" Valle de Uco malbec 2012 ($23). Well-structured red with dominant flavors of raspberry and mocha.

Trivento Argentina torrontes reserve 2013 ($11). Luscious mouth-feel, with the floral honeysuckle fragrances kept in control. It has some light butterscotch hints at the finish.

Trivento "Amado Sur" Mendoza white wine ($15).  Mainly chardonnay with pinot grigio and viognier. It has warm flavors of fresh apples and hints of custard with a crisp finish — a nice sipping wine.

Trivento Argentina cabernet sauvignon reserve 2013 ($9). A good, solid wine with aromas and flavors of currants and dark cherries with some fig and balsamic notes.

The accompanying slideshow is provided by special contributor,