Wines from South America Under $20

South American wines have become very popular in the last 10 years. Argentina, in particular, has developed a reputation for fine wines, especially due to the popularity of the Malbec. Its grapes grow well in the Mendoza region of Argentina. They produce excellent quality wines at a very affordable price. Also they're not very heavy, strong, or dark, but full of aroma and flavor. Here are my 5 favorite red wines which I would definitely pour at a dinner party, or present as a gift to our host.

Tomero Malbec | Originally from the Bordeaux region of France, this grape is among the
“big six” for red wine grapes. However, its fame and fortune in France often ends there, as Malbec is generally a grape used for blending to add intensity and color to lighter varietals. 
In Argentina, Malbec has found the perfect growing conditions; especially in Mendoza where the long sunny days and cool nights provide perfect growing conditions for this grape. Over the past ten years, its quality has improved substantially and it has become Argentina’s signature red grape.
 Malbec is a medium to full-bodied red wine depending on the winemaking technique. It has ripe fruit flavors of cherry, plums and blackberry. The tannins are sweet and generally well balanced.

Vistalba Corte C | This is a very elegant wine. It is an 80% Malbec and 20% Cabernet, produced and bottled at Bodegas Vistalba in Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza. Luján de Cuyo, the heart of Argentina's finest wine country, lies in a landscape of desert scrub and adobe-walled farmhouse. Thirty years ago, when Argentina's fine-wine industry was in its infancy, vintner Carlos Pulenta's father planted vineyards in this high Andean desert.

Today, these deeply rooted vines form the core of the younger Pulenta's estate. After a successful career as an executive at two of Argentina's largest wine companies, Pulenta returned to his family's land and created a boutique wine estate. Completed in 2005, the winery is located at an elevation of nearly 4,000 feet, with a spectacular view of snow-capped Andes peaks. Almost instantly, it became the flagship estate of Luján de Cuyo. Vistalba Corte C is my favorite from this amazing winery.

Argento Bonarda
| Bonarda is an Italian varietal which is welcome as a change of pace from the traditional Malbec. Because Bonarda is lighter than Malbec, I would definitely pair it with Turkey. This is a very refined but friendly wine. I also admire the winemaker, Silvia Corti. I think she is a pioneer in the South American man ruled winemaking world. Silvia developed a passion for winemaking while growing up in Mendoza. Her family has Italian roots, and her introduction to wine came as a young girl at her grandmother’s country house and family vineyards in Agrelo, Mendoza.I like her style because she makes her wines as if she were making them for her family and friends. She says, “We made wine, mainly for the family, and I really enjoyed it, helping the grape pickers and filling the bottles when the wine was ready."

Tonada Malbec | This is a young wine made from grapes that grow at 1,100 meters above sea level on the slopes of the Andes mountains. The name “Tonada” is a homage to the beautiful Mendoza folk song traditionally sung in the vineyards at harvest time. I personally know the winery owner, Manuel Mas, who is a music lover and a big fan of beautiful things in life. He is a true bon vivant, a great friend, and an amazing

art collector. His wines are a true reflection of his unique personality.

Fin del Mundo Reserva Malbec | This is a new wine region in Argentina, located in the north part of the Patagonia, about 60km. south of the city of Neuquén. This is one of the southernmost regions in Argentina. Due to its wide temperature fluctuations and low humidity, the grapes mature at a slower pace resulting in an excellent combination of sugars and acidity, rendering outstanding aromas and flavors. In Patagonia, winters are very cold, summers are very dry and hot during the day, and cold at night. These are ideal factor for the grapes, which deliver the best quality at the time of harvest.

Consuelo Lyonnet
Bilingual Communications

Founder & Editor |


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