Wine Reviews: South American Wines

For this panel, we asked our wine panelists to taste and rate South American wines. These can be any style and from anywhere in the popular region.

As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’s retail price (which can vary from store to store and market to market). Unless noted otherwise, prices reflect a 750-ml. bottle. If you are a beverage professional with a specialty in wine who is interested in participating in the panel, please contact Editor Kyle Swartz at or 203-855-8499 x225.

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.


(97) BenMarco Expresivo 2020 (Argentina)

Mostly malbec, with some cabernet franc in the mix, this wine is intense. Very dark, nearly saturated ruby in the glass, the nose is filled with lovely spice and floral notes. On the palate, the wine shows plenty of rich, dark fruit and firm tannins. ($40)

(96) Colomé Auténtico Malbec 2021 (Argentina)

A perfect example how a red wine, without any oak or other barrel treatment, can still exhibit plenty of structure. 100% malbec, from a vineyard at nearly a mile in altitude, the wine is definitely driven by its ripe and intense fruit. The nose and palate are layered with plenty of dark tree fruit, with hints of spice. ($42)

(95) Vina Alicia San Alberto Morena 2012 (Argentina)

Once you taste this wine you will forget all about California cabs! 88% cab sauv, 12% cab franc. Handpicked grapes that stay awhile after fermentation, giving the wine a deep color and silky-smooth palate. Plush tannins along with the black and blue fruit and a bit of chocolate makes this a perfect match for brisket barbeque. ($35)

(94) Antigal Uno Malbec 2021 (Argentina)

This unoaked 100% malbec is a very dark ruby in the glass. The nose and palate are dominated by rich, black fruit, and touches of spice. Nicely weighty on the palate, the finish balances the fruit and structure of this superb wine. ($18)


(94) Susana Balbo Signature Brioso White Blend 2021 (Argentina)

This blend of sémillon, sauvignon blanc and torrontés is a pale gold, with slight green notes in appearance. The nose is an attractive blend of stone fruit, citrus and fresh-cut grass. It has great acidity with a lush mouthfeel, and a long, balanced finish. ($29)

(94) El Enemigo Cabernet Franc 2018 (Argentina)

When Adrianna Catena began her own wine, making a venture, she named it El Enemigo, or ‘the enemy.’ But the venture was not designed to be a competition with her auspicious father’s business. So perhaps ‘frenemies’ would be more appropriate. This luscious, deep garnet cabernet franc epitomizes what this varietal can be on its own. Black currant and plum, sweet, spices and oak notes. All combine, spend 16 months in French oak barrels and give a long finish with great balance that pairs with any hardy, meat-focused menu. ($24)

(93) Santa Julia La Oveja 2021 (Argentina)

Produced from 100% organically grown torrontés grapes, it shines with a bright gold color, with subtle green notes. On the nose the fruit jumps out of the glass, with plenty of white stone fruit and floral hints. Wonderfully acidic, it’s a great match for a wide variety of seafood and chicken dishes, as well as a perfect aperitif. ($18)

(93) La Celia Pioneer Cabernet Franc 2020 (Argentina)

This 100% cabernet franc has a lovely dark ruby aspect in the glass. On the nose, dark fruits dominate, with subtle hints of milk chocolate and spice. It has nice weight, with rich fruit leading the way, and nice weight and texture. A very versatile red wine, it’s not overly tannic, and is ready to enjoy now. ($14.99)

(93) Antigal Uno Rosé 2022 (Argentina)

The blend is a proprietary combination of different varieties. Medium-salmon pink in the glass, the nose reveals plenty of bright, red fruit. The taste is also bright, with elegant fruit notes and very satisfying finish. ($13)

(93) Crios Rosé of Malbec 2022 (Argentina)

A lovely and elegant rosé, produced from 100% malbec. Quite pale in the glass, the nose and palate shine through, with notes of wild strawberry, and a great balance of acidity and fruit. ($15)

(93) Bodegas Garzon Riserva Tannat 2020 (Uruguay)

This medium-bodied, deep-ruby, almost-purple tannat features aromas of plum and black cherry. Judicious oaking brings out rich spicy notes that pair well with hearty ripe cheeses or rich beef, dishes like London broil, or osso buco. Grown on small hillside parcels less than 18 KM from the Atlantic Ocean, which provides a nice maritime influence. ($20)

(92) Dandelion Bonarda 2020 (Argentina)

Toasty notes of wood on the nose. On the palate it is feisty, youthful with ripe fruit (sun-ripened plums and berries), with a hint of slate and eucalyptus. Dry, but not overly acidic, with tannins that only put up a fight for a brief moment. Would pair well with a juicy hamburger. ($13)

(92) Casa Julia Carmenere 2020 (Chile)

The nose on this wine is pretty savory; notes of BBQ beef. On the palate it is soft, but not subtle. This dry red tastes of eucalyptus and fresh herbs, with a touch of blueberry, with hints of oak. Tannins are there, but not in your face. Okay by the glass, but shines with food. ($12)

(92) Clos D’Angel Malbec 2020 (Chile). Dried plums and cherries on the nose continue their way into the palate. This creation from winemaker Aurelio Montes is a structured wine with a soft yet lingering finish. ($23.99)

(92) Catena Zapata Alta Chardonnay 2020 (Argentina)

A high-elevation, cool-weather chardonnay grown at two vineyards, which are 3,700-foot elevation and 4,700-foot elevation. It offers a nose of white peach and quince. Made from Dijon clones and aged for 14 months in 45% new French oak barrels, the oak and partial malolactic regime do not predominate but are rather well integrated into the profile. Rich mid-palate, ripe pear and apricot notes abound. (<$20)

(92) Duberon Chardonnay 2021 (Argentina)

Crisp and clean are two great descriptions for this wine. Notes of vanilla, rich toasted brioche, and almond envelope you on the palate. Great wine for dinner parties or charcuterie plates, as the food-pairing possibilities are endless with this one. ($19.99)

(92) Cabernairo No 8 Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 (Chile)

This is THE steak wine. Even the nose had charcoal and grilled notes. The palate is plump and filled with soy, umami and herb spices like oregano. Would be a people-pleaser at any barbeque or steak dinner. ($19.99)


(91) Cameleon No Sulfites Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 (Argentina)

No sulfite added, and aged in concrete. This is a South American cabernet sauvignon with an Old World vibe. The palate is tarter and more lifted than a typical South American expression, but with the dark blackberry notes and a welcome structure and backbone. ($16.99)

(91) Clos D’Angel Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 (Chile)

This wine is deliciously dark purple with hints of violets amongst other floral scents. The palate is powerful and rich with cassis and a lingering but welcome tannic finish. ($23.99)

(91) Fabre Montmayou Mendoza Reserve Malbec 2021 (Argentina)

A big malbec for the money. Once it opens up, you’ll discover blueberry and coffee along with a bit of wood. Made from old vines, this malbec has that ‘Fabre French Touch’ that sets it apart from the crowd. ($17)

(91) The Seeker Sauvignon Blanc 2022 (Argentina)

This is super-clear white wine with green highlights. On the nose it is ripe with a citrus aroma. On the palate it is dry with notes of grapefruit and citrus pith. Savory in nature, a tad herbaceous. Mouthwatering acidity on the finish, which does linger. ($13)

(91) Santa Ana Chardonnay 2022 (Argentina)

Ideal wine for a picnic or the beach. The nose is full of crisp apple and juicy tree fruit notes. This wine is silky on the palate, with pops of fresh lychees, mango and peaches. A steal for the price! ($7.99)

(91) Singerstone Sauvignon Blanc 2022 (Chile)

A more elevated style of sauvignon blanc at this price point. Rich lemon custard notes on the nose, while the palate is full of white blossoms like orange and honeysuckles. The midpalate-to-finish notes of lemon zest wake you back up. ($13.99)

(91) Cruz Alta Malbec 2022 (Argentina)

Deep violet red color beckons you to the glass, which opens up with notes of baked dark fruits and blackberry compote. This is a little Old World in style, but herbaceous with a plush mouthfeel. ($11.99)

(90) Eccentric Chardonnay 2022 (Argentina)

A bright golden green color with an expressive nose of lemon lime. The grapefruit and almost lemon-lime soda notes make this wine a fun and people-pleasing option. ($10.99)

(90) Cameleon Signature Chardonnay 2022 (Argentina)

Organic. Intense nose with an expressive minerality. Higher acidity greets you on your first sip with a bracing and refreshingly apple finish. ($14.99)

(90) Vistamar Brisa Sauvignon Blanc 2022 (Chile)

Citrus fruits like lime and grapefruit dominate this wine. This is a bright and crisp example of a sauvignon blanc from Chile. ($6.99)

(90) Ed Edmundo Sauvignon Blanc 2022 (Chile)

Freshly cut grass and lychees welcome you to this wine. The nose is as expressive as the palate but with added texture and layers of melon and apricot. ($10.99)

(90) San Telmo Malbec 2022 (Argentina)

This is a lighter malbec, with easy-going tannins and slim structure. There are evident, softer fruit notes like raspberries and pomegranate. ($6.99)

(90) San Telmo Cabernet Sauvignon 2022 (Argentina)

This wine’s earthy nose tricks you, as the palate is filled with plums, black cherries and a velvety mouthfeel to create a soft yet joyous wine for the value. ($6.99) BD

(90) Santa Ana Cabernet Sauvignon 2022 (Argentina)

Fun and easy. This wine has a fruit-forward palate of blackberry, raspberry and black currants. Tart but easy drinking. Good value for the price. ($7.99)

(90) Errazuirz Aconcagua Costa Chardonnay 2020 (Chile)

A romantic, creamy chard with layers of white peach, lemon zest and vanilla. The oak brings it gently together, especially with shellfish roasted with butter. ($27)

Want more reviews? Our wine panels in the past year have included:


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