This has probably been the best month of the year for wine values in the International Wine Cellar, especially with our coverage of Argentina and France’s southern Rhône Valley. At the IWC, we don’t throw around 90-point ratings, but when wines at this level of quality can be had for $20 or less that’s a cause for celebrating—and for buying by the case.
We’ll publish more coverage of Argentine malbec and Côtes-du-Rhônes bottlings in the next few weeks, but today it’s Argentina’s cabernets that get top billing. As I’ve noted before on this site, cabernet production in Argentina is dwarfed by the ubiquitous and ever-popular malbec. Some malbec proponents in Argentina are not yet convinced that Mendoza’s dry high desert is an ideal climate for producing truly velvety, refined cabernets with thoroughly ripe tannins, but in my tastings in recent years, a growing number of cabernets have unquestionably caught my attention. The fact that Mendoza has not experienced a really hot growing season since 2009 has definitely been constructive for these wines. Years without an extended period of heat allow for slower, more even ripening of the fruit, so that the grape skins can reach good physiological ripeness before potential alcohol levels skyrocket and acidity levels plunge. READ MORE »