Last Friday the Wall Street Journal’s wine reviewers did a blind tasting of 60 Malbecs and were quite pleased with the overall results. More on that in a moment, but what was interesting to me is how wine from Argentina has zoomed so far ahead of what’s coming out of Chile in terms of sales. Higher sales doesn’t mean better wine of course–as Australia’s bursting bubble is proving–but it is a sign that people are generally happy with what they’re getting when they see “Made in Argentina” on the label.

argentina winery

The Journal says, “In the first four months of this year, the U.S. imported almost 50 percent more wine from Argentina than Chile. This represents a big change: as recently as 2000, Chile exported almost five times as much wine to the U.S. as Argentina did.”

wine tourThis is mostly due to the rise of Malbec. The writers (John Brecher and Dorothy J. Gaiter) tasted 60 of them off U.S. shelves and their top 8 picks ranged in price from $6.99 to $41.99. Great values all around. The best of tasting was a Felipe Rutini 2004, which retails for $17.99. The best value was Nieto Senetiner “Reserva” 2004, which I’m happy to report I got to taste in person at their beautiful vineyard when I was in Mendoza (the two photos here). They make some great high-end wines, but this particular one is a fantastic bargain at $6.99.

Click on the Wine.com banner to the right to order a stash of wine from Argentina. Or visit your local store and grab a few random bottles. There’s a good chance you’ll be pleased with the results, without gambling a lot of cash.