Wine Reviews: Our Favorites From the Southern Hemisphere

For the latest round of wine reviews issue, we asked members of the StateWays Wine Panel to recommend their favorite Southern Hemisphere pours.

As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’s retail price (which varies from store to store and market to market). If you’re a retail beverage professional who would like to learn about participating in our panel, contact Editor Kyle Swartz at

Rating System

Five Stars (100-92): A top-flight wine, superior in taste and character, and providing a superior price/value ratio.

Four Stars (91-86): A very good wine and an excellent value. A wine for which customers will keep coming back.

Five Stars

(97) 4 Los Gatos Malbec (Argentina)

Sourced from vineyards nearly a mile in altitude, this 100% malbec is a dark ruby color in the glass. The nose and palate both exhibit rich dark fruit, with spice hints. The mouth-filling fruit has good weight and fine texture, with a long, balanced finish, showcasing its outstanding quality. ($41.99)

(97) DiamAndes de Uco 2015 Malbec-Cabernet Grande Reserve (Argentina)

The vineyards providing the grapes for this 75% malbec/25% cabernet sauvignon blend are three-quarters of a mile above sea level, keeping the wine’s acidity in balance with its other components. Brilliant dark ruby, with plenty of red berry and cherry fruit, accented by spice and vanilla notes. Very nicely balanced, with good weight, texture and structure. ($34.99)

(96) Keermont Estate Reserve 2014 (South Africa)

A serious blend of Bordeaux varietals are showcased in this stunning offering. Ripe, fresh-squeezed red berries and black berries are seductively exposed from entry to finish. The long, dusty finish makes one think of California mountain fruit, but at a fraction of the price. The 24 months in barrel and 36 months in cellar has this ready for immediate consumption —or it can be held for manyyears. ($34.99)

(96) Vistalba Corte B Lujan de Cuyo 2017 (Argentina)

A lovely blend of malbec, cabernet sauvignon and bonarda, primarily sourced from vines 70+ years old. A deep, bright garnet in the glass, the nose and palate showcase the quality and complexity of this finely crafted wine. Plenty of dark stone fruit on the nose and palate, exceptional weight and texture, with a long, lingering finish. ($24.99)


(95) Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2017 (Australia)

Bold berry fruit, dark color and rich lingering finish, is the best description for this delicious shiraz. A deeply satisfying marriage of the fruit and tannin are complemented by the ever-present acidity, with a little time to air this wine becomes a rich masterpiece. ($29)

(94) Tait Ball Buster Proprietary Blend 2017 (Australia)

Always one of the “go-to”wines of Australia, this might be the best vintage yet. Mostly shiraz, with a shot of cabernet sauvignon and merlot to add more depth. Dark, brooding fruit luxuriously coats the palate with notes of black cherry and dark chocolate, giving way to a plush finish of vanilla-kissed tannins. A mouthful of joy at a very friendly price. ($24.99)

(94) Krone Brut Rosé 2018 (South Africa)

Lively yet elegant, with a fine mousse dancing in the glass. Lovely notes of crushed strawberries, golden delicious apple and ripe cherries arouse the taste buds, giving way to a finish with a subtle bready texture that lingers joyously. Bubble-lovers should find great value in this vintage rosé that pairs with everything from cheeses to seafood to desserts and anything in between. ($24.99)

(94) Terrazas de Los Andes Malbec Reserva 2018 (Argentina)

A brilliant deep ruby in the glass, this 100% malbec has plenty of supple black and red fruit, with touches of spice. In the mouth, the bright fruit has good weight, and excellent balance, with a long finish. ($21.99)

(93) White Cliff Rosé Winemaker’s Selection 2020 (New Zealand)

Brilliant salmon pink in the glass, the rosé enjoys a rich-and-complex nose, and palate of red berry, with faint citrus hints. The bright fruit is well balanced, with a finish sharing the same characteristics. Very versatile, and enjoyable. ($16)

(93) Los Vascos Cromas Carmenère Gran Reserva 2019 (Chile)

A pure Carmenère wine, from vineyard sites cooled by their proximity to the Pacific Ocean, which helps maintain good acidity and freshness. A very deep ruby with touches of purple. The nose is dominated by black cherry and dark fruit, with subtle spice notes. The palate is well rounded, with the weight of the fruit balanced by the acidity. ($20.99)

(93) Tinga Rio Reserve Pinot Noir 2018 (Chile)

A supple, well-balanced example of pinot noir. A great example of a fruit-forward style of pinot noir. With minimal oak contact, the weight is due to carefully harvested grapes from sustainably managed vineyards, and skilled winemaking. At this price, it’s more than a great bargain. ($12)

(93) Vina Alicia 2012 (Argentina)

Plum, blue and black fruit adorn this cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc blend. Hints of licorice, cedar, cigar and fresh herbs, along with silky-but-firm tannins, creates a simply beautiful wine. It is a delight to drink. ($33)

(93) Don Miguel Gascón Reserva Malbec 2017 (Argentina)

Nearly all malbec, with a splash of petit verdot, from a selection of multiple vineyards, the wine is a brilliant, saturated ruby in the glass. The nose and palate are dominated by dark fruit, with spice and vanilla notes. Deep and rich in the mouth, the finish is long and well balanced. ($22)

(92) Carmen Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (Chile)

Ripe passion fruit notes are given complexity, with a refreshing tartness that rides along with the juicy flavors from initial flavor attack to the lengthy finish. With layers and depth of fruit character, the savory notes bring it all together. ($15.99)

(92) Miles From Nowhere Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (Australia)

Dried peach and nectarine notes joined with a nice citrus and minerality set this sauvignon apart and give it complexity. There is a mineral kick driving the fruit with an energy usually seen in a more-premium wine. ($14.99)

(92) La Riojana Malbec 2019 (Argentina)

An unusual co-op of 500 growers working together as one, with a goal of making great, affordable, organic and sustainable wine while being fair-trade certified. Blackberry and ripe plum notes awaken the palate joyfully before finishing long and deep with cocoa powder notes. At this price, what’s not to like? ($11.99)

Elqui Valley, Andes part of Atacama Desert in the Coquimbo region, Chile.

Four Stars

(91) Giant Sky Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (New Zealand)

The Gooseberry punch sets the tone for this high-tension sauvignon blanc. Swinging from ripe juicy mouth-filling flavors to grippy mineral-driven tartness that lights up and refreshes palate. ($12.99)

(91) Don Nicanor Nieto Senetiner Malbec 2017 (Argentina)

A nicely complex malbec that gives your palate a reason to happily think about all the flavors. Rich plum and berry are surrounded by firm tannins and a hint of dustiness. Perfect for those nights out with the grill. ($19)

(91) Hewitson “Gun Metal” Riesling 2019 (Australia)

Named after the stones in the vineyard that have the same color and add a distinctive minerality. Loads of aromatic and juicy lime notes on the palate, while the nose screams riesling from down under with a signature new pool toy aroma. A lovely dry riesling with a palate full of citrus. ($17.99)

(91) Victoria Park Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (Australia)

Cherry and raspberry notes are smooth and roll along the palate with a spice characteristic, giving the wine more definition. The purity of fruit combined with a powerful mouthfeel of grippy tannins lasts a long time on the
finish. ($12.99)

(91) Victoria Park Shiraz 2018 (Australia)

Plush and bold black fruit thunder across the nose and palate, along with deep chocolate notes. The midpalate and finish are smooth with plum notes and balanced with grippy tannins. ($12.99)

(91) Thousand Lives Malbec 2020 (Argentina)

A combination of dried and ripe cherry notes all over the nose and palate are kept in check with some nice vanilla cola notes. Clean and bright, this medium-bodied malbec does have a bit of grip and smooth tannins to it. ($6.99)

(91) Eccentric Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (Argentina)

Floral and bright with big fruit that blasts out of the glass and is extremely approachable. Combining fresh raspberry and black currant notes, this is a fun, punchy, tannic cabernet that over-delivers. ($9.99)

(91) Eccentric Merlot 2018 (Argentina)

Fragrant, balanced and energetic, the raspberry and blueberry notes transfer to the palate, where they are smooth and mouth filling. A powerful taught wine with soft-yet-fine tannins. ($9.99)

(90) Eccentric Chardonnay 2018 (Argentina)

Ripe Anjou pears and minerality define this bright, fresh wine. Balanced with oak, fig and apple notes that add a nice depth and energy to the finish. ($9.99)

(90) Eccentric Red Blend 2019 (Argentina)

Fresh and intense, the mouthfeel is zippy and luxurious, with ripe red cherry and strawberry flavors from top to bottom. The midpalate and finish have a tannic structure and that elevates the fruit notes and keeps the party going. ($9.99)

(90) Ed Edmundo Chardonnay 2019 (Argentina)

A balance of sweet ripe mango and lychee notes swim across the palate from start to finish. A creamy and tropical feel balanced by zippy energy and freshness. ($8.99)

(90) Terra Noble Gran Reserva Carignan, 2016 (Chile)

Not often found, this 100% carignan from 60-100-year-old vines is a bargain. A bit of pepper, licorice, cherry and spice makes a perfect pairing with grilled pork or chicken. ($15.95)

(90) Groote Post Chenin Blanc, 2016 (South Africa)

Guava, green apples, light spice and minerals lace this refreshing chenin from the South Cape. The tropical edges are perfect with Asian cuisine. ($18.95)

(90) Thousand Lives Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (Argentina)

Bright and juicy with a medium body of raspberry and blackberry. Fruit-centric, with just the right amount of grip, keeping the approachable and zippy mouthfeel. ($6.99)

(90) Thousand Lives Chardonnay 2020 (Argentina)

Ripe, Pink Lady crisp apples with pear notes cut through this fresh chardonnay. With vanilla and tropical flavor accents, the wine is fresh and fun with a certain depth to keep it interesting. ($6.99)

(90) Thousand Lives Merlot 2020 (Argentina)

Smooth and expressive, this wine is dominated by raspberry, cherry and strawberry and wears its fruit-forward identity on its sleeve. Fun and loud, the flavor is intense, and the mouthfeel is plush. ($6.99)

(90) Thousand Lives Red Blend 2020 (Argentina)

Energetic and smooth, the wine is playful with a floral nose, medium body and strawberry, raspberry notes all over the place. The finish is still smooth and round, with the fruit stealing the show right to the end. ($6.99)

(89) Matua Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (New Zealand)

The perfect springtime shot of wine energy you are looking for. Bright acidity and fresh herbaceous notes are energetic from start to finish. A delightfully refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. ($10)

(88) Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia)

Named after the cool bay nearby that helps extend the grapes-growing season. Polished and smooth with Cabernet’s signature green note in a minty form. ($15.99)

(88) d’Arenberg “Laughing Magpie” (Australia)

A blend of shiraz (90%) and viognier (10%). A classic blend of red and white grapes ala northern Rhone France style. The viognier gives an attractive floral top note that adds interest and intrigue to its bass notes of dark fruit. ($24.99)


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