New kids on the block

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

South America's heavy, hearty red wines have been making a splash since entering the market - which, on the timeline of wines, was very recently.

Michael Wilson, owner of MacLaren Wines, is one of its fans. So are his customers, it seems.

"They're a little more structured than, like, the Australian shiraz is. They're a little more focused," said Wilson, whose stores in Grandview and Bexley are loaded with knee-high crate displays of bottles and lots of hand-written signs.

South America is heavy into producing reds like syrah, pinot noir, malbec and merlot. Wilson grabbed some of his favorites, including two malbecs, for an overview of the region.

"They're immediately accessible and enjoyable in terms of drinking," he said.

Crios Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)

Region: Argentina

Cost: $16

Flavors: A little bit of tobacco, tannins

Pairs well with: A big grilled steak, or other red meat

Who'll enjoy it: California cab drinkers will appreciate this variety

Michael Wilson's advice: "Cabernet is a grape everybody recognizes, and you wouldn't think that coming from down there, with malbec and stuff like that ... but that is an excellent, excellent bottle of wine."

Cavia Malbec (2006)

Region: Mendoza, Argentina

Cost: $9

Flavors: Forward, young and immediately enjoyable

Pairs well with: Any saucy or gravy-filled dish

Who'll enjoy it: Anyone interested in giving a malbec a try

Michael Wilson's advice: "If someone came in and said, 'What does malbec taste like?' I would say, 'Try this Cavia.' It's just a great example that's really affordable."

Weinert Malbec (2003)

Region: Mendoza, Argentina

Cost: $24

Flavors: Powerful and ageworthy, with light tannins

Pairs well with: Hearty meals like a pot roast or stew

Who'll enjoy it: Malbec fans interested in taking an elegant step up

Michael Wilson's advice: "[Tannins] can account for longevity in a wine - it softens and mellows out."