HIDDEN GEMS in plain sight: That’s what I call these labels in the South American section of supermarkets and wine shops — because Argento wines, especially, are probably sitting there. It’s just that the number of choices on shelves today is blinding. Argento and Tomero are two Argentinian producers of note with a track record for quality and affordable prices.
Bodega Argento is a spectacular property in Mendoza that not only embraces art and technology but sustainable farming. A portion of their estate vineyards is certified organic and the goal is to have all the vineyards certified. Head winemaker Silvia Corti is Argentine-born and raised in a family with Italian roots and a passion for making wine. She has been making Argento’s wines since 2004.
Tomero is produced by Carlos Pulenta who represents the third generation of an influential Argentinian winemaking family. The winery prides itself in cutting-edge technology that still pays respect to traditional ways of making wine.
Argento Malbec Mendoza, Argentina 2013, $13.99: With intense dark berry fruit, velvet tannins, a good backbone of acidity — this wine is why Malbec is such a hit in the U.S. On top of that, it’s affordable, and it’s available at supermarkets. It has a deep purple color with aromas of plum, black cherries, spice, dark chocolate and floral notes. The whole package is delicious — it’s the balance and soft mouthfeel that make it so appealing.
Argento Pinot Grigio Mendoza, Argentina 2014, $13: The clean, crisp, refreshing character with a sturdy spine of acidity certainly points to the cool mountain climate where these grapes are grown. Remember, the province of Mendoza in the Andes Mountains of Argentina has high-altitude terrain, a desert climate and natural irrigation from snow melt to irrigate the vineyards. This Grigio has delicate aromas of floral notes, tart green apple and fresh pear followed by a palate of citrus, white stone fruit and the flinty/mineral notes from the rocky, high-altitude site.
Tomero Reserva Malbec Mendoza, Argentina 2011, $25: This big, full-bodied beauty is still just giving a hint of its power: dense dark berry fruit, supple tannins, straight-line acidity, an infusion of French oak. It is over the top with strawberry-cherry-raspberry notes, plum, spice and dark chocolate. It’s like a dark chocolate bonbon filled with raspberries and brandy melting in your mouth. Wine Spectator gave it 90 points. Wine Enthusiast gave it 91 points. It’s aged in new French oak for 15 months and aged another 6 months in bottle.