With the wine industry growing year after year, picking out a good bottle seems to be a minefield. This guide from pampeano will detail some of the best wines that South America had to offer.
South America has a long history of growing grapes, with vineyards all over the continent making every type of wine. Chilé is the largest producer of wine, but Argentina - the home of pampeano - produces some unique and distinct wines of its own. Most wine-making traditions migrated from Europe, evident by the number of French wines popular in the region. Hopefully, we will be able to help you decide which bottle to try next. So in no particular order, here are pampeano's top five wines of South America.
Originally a French wine, carménère has been grown in Chilé for generations. A medium body red wine, carménère's aromas are akin to red fruits, spices and berries. The taste is cherry-like and fruity, with earthy, smoky and spicy notes. The wine is best drunk young. It is the perfect accompaniment to fish; great for dinner parties. Because of the relative popularity of the wine, the average price is £10 - £20.
Like Carménère, Malbec was originally a French wine, but has been widely celebrated in its Argentine variety for many years. The best Malbec comes from Mendoza region of Argentina. The Argentine variety is softer than the French, with a plusher texture and riper tannins. It has juicy fruity notes with violet aromas. One must be careful with Malbec from hotter regions of Argentina, as the low acidity can cause the wine to become weak. Malbec is best drunk with meat dishes - consider drinking at the asado - the traditional South American barbeque. Again, because of the popularity, a decent bottle of Malbec can be bought for as little as £10, but it is common for the prices to rise up to £30 or £40.
Grown all over the world, Tannat is best grown in Uruguay, where it is considered the national grape. It is a dry, dark and powerful red wine. The strong tannins and high acidity level makes this an acquired taste; nonetheless, a taste shared by the nation of Uruguay. Best paired with winter dishes such as beef, sausages, casolet and roast lamb, tannat can be enjoyed in summer also. Tannat is more obscure than Malbec and Carménère, so is harder to find and can be more expensive, with good bottles being £20 - £30.
Known as Criolla in Argentina, historically pais has been very common. Widely cultivated in Chilé, Pais has recently been valued higher than its traditional standing as a table wine. Gaining international acclaim, there has never been a better time to try this delicious wine. Pais has a gorgeous fruity flavour with floral notes and earthy finish. This light-bodied wine is best paired with fish or poultry, as well as vegetarian dishes which use mushroom. It is easy to pick up a very cheap bottle of Pais for under £10, but if higher quality is desired then more luxury brands can cost upwards of £20.
The only white wine on this list, Torrontés is grown in the northern parts of Argentina, near Salta. A complex wine, the floral and fruity notes seem to contradict the dry and slightly bitter taste. It has a very smooth texture and mouthfeel, and the aromas are distinctive of peach and apricot. Torrontés is best drunk young, ideally within a year of its vintage. Interestingly Torrontés is best paired with Asian cuisine, due to its floral aromas. Torrontés is not an expensive wine, with most bottles priced between £5 and £15.