Almost every wine shop of any size in the United States carries wines from Argentina, most commonly inexpensive Malbecs. Argentine wines tend to offer excellent value for the money, but that’s not true only at the low end of the price spectrum. Its fine wines routinely outshine their price tags, a trend especially evident in the increasing crop of single-vineyard wines.
Mendoza, relatively new to fine-wine production, has started delving into the intricacies of its terroir, and many wineries now craft superlative single-vineyard wines from a range of grape varieties. The focus has shifted from simply producing the best Malbec (or Cabernet or Chardonnay) to creating wines that express something of the vineyard from which they come. Mendoza began its fine-wine revolution by emulating Bordeaux, but now many vintners have taken a turn toward Burgundy.
The Malbecs we sampled at Achaval-Ferrer emphasized the difference terroir can make. Its 2012 Bella Vista had powerful, almost brooding dark fruit with big spice and undertones of tobacco, but the 2009 Mirador felt more bright and cheerful, with ripe cherry fruit, focused spice and more restraint. We tried the 2014 Altamira straight from the barrel, and even in its youth, it clearly exhibited more herbaceous qualities than either the Bella Vista or the Mirador. achaval-ferrer.com