Alamos: An everyday line from Argentina you can count on

The reach of E. & J. Gallo is far and diverse. Their wine portfolio extends around the world including to the Catena family in Argentina.

If you delve into the mid- to late-20th century wine history of this South American country, you will find it is the Catena family that helped build today’s successful Argentine wine industry and boost the popularity of single-varietal Malbec wines. The Catenas make the Alamos brand distributed by Gallo in the U.S.subAlamos

You can find Alamos in the supermarket and independent wine shops. Prices are reasonable; quality is excellent.

 Alamos Torrontes Salta Argentina 2012, $13

This Torrontes from the high elevations of the Salta region demonstrates the quality the Catena famly pursues. Torrontes is the flagship white in Argentina. It is its own thing — but if I had to describe this one it would be floral like Gewurztraminer and Riesling, tart and green like Pinot Grigio. The more it sits in the glass the more it tastes like a Gewurz. Floral, orange, lichee nut, lime, grapefruit. Such a wonderful wine for serious wine lovers and cooks. Serve it opposite sweet lobster or scallops, or sweet pork or grilled chicken. It sees no oak aging. It’s pure fruit.

Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza 2012, $13

Imagine this: A Cab that has all the cassis, cherry, plum and vanilla of a California wine, that’s dense, concentrated and well-balanced, for $13. No fancy talk about vineyards. No ode to the winemaker. Though both would be earned. This is terrific Cabernet Sauvignon for the price — fruit, acid, tannin, body. This “everyday” wine can age.

Alamos Malbec Mendoza Argentina 2012, $13

Bright berry fruit — blackberries, raspberries, cherries — and dark plums, dark chocolate and vanilla just ooze from this wine. The fruit is so ripe, so accessible, helped along with small additions of Syrah and Bonarda. It’s ideal with any meats cooked on an outdoor grill — and throw in pizza too. This is an exceptional vintage. Look for this brand at large retailers such as Meijer and Kroger in the Argentine section.

Alamos  Red Blend Mendoza Argentina 2012, $13

Sometimes, on today’s wine shelves, “Red Blend” is code for Sweet. Not so with this blend from Argentina — it’s a big, delicious blend of Malbec, Bonarda, Tempranilla and Syrah with no apparent time spent in oak, which means the fruit gets center stage. It’s a cocktail of dark cherries, strawberries, white pepper, and dark roasted coffee. It’s bold but approachable.

The Alamos wines are widely available at supermarkets and wine shops around Michigan. Just look in the Argentine section.

You can reach Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@hotmail.com.