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Global Wine Values: The Best of the Rest

South America and South Africa

Kim Marcus
Posted: October 7, 2003

Global Wine Values
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United States
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Fruit-forward wines with an edge

While the wines of Chile, Argentina and South Africa offer flavors and styles as diverse as their geographic settings, they share a common denominator as solid value regions. Chile has the most experience in the values field. Its vineyards, thriving in valleys that lie in the shadow of the Andes, deliver full-bodied reds, especially Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Firm in structure, these wines deliver crisp plum and berry fruit flavors, with less of the overt spice flavors common to Australian and California reds. Other interesting reds in Chile include Carmenère (a long-lost Bordeaux variety rarely grown in France anymore) and in Argentina, Bonarda. Both offer plummy and smoky flavors.

Whites from South America include no-nonsense renditions of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. A distinctive Argentinean white is Torrontés, which has a Gewürztraminer-like spiciness on a light-bodied frame.

Most of South Africa's best wines come from the Cape of Good Hope region. The climate is Mediterranean, and the African heat is tempered by breezes from the South Atlantic. South African reds share similarities with Europe's in structure, with crisp acidities and lean flavor profiles. Cabernet Sauvignon is finding increasing success in this region.

Solid Chardonnays with fig and pear flavors and crisp finishes are also coming on strong; if you want to try something different in a white, pick up a bottle of Steen, which is the South African name for Chenin Blanc. It displays citrus and spice flavors.

South American and South African Values

South America/Red


Wine Score Price
LAS VIÑAS DE LA CALINA Merlot Maule Valley Reserve 2001 86 $8
CONCHA Y TORO Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley Xplorador 2001 85 $8
LA PLAYA Merlot Colchagua Valley 2000 85 $7
VIÑA SANTA EMA Merlot Rapel Valley 2001 83 $9
WALNUT CREST Merlot Rapel Valley 2002 83 $6
WALNUT CREST Shiraz Rapel Valley 2002 81 $6
VIÑA SAN PEDRO Cabernet Sauvignon Central Valley Gato Negro 2002 80 $5
VIÑA SAN PEDRO Carmenère Lontué Valley Gato Negro 2002 80 $5


Wine Score Price
J. & F. LURTON Bonarda Uco Valley 2002 84 $6
FANTELLI Syrah Mendoza 2001 83 $9
J. & F. LURTON Sangiovese Uco Valley 2001 83 $6

South America/White


Wine Score Price
CASA LAPOSTOLLE Sauvignon Blanc Rapel Valley 2002 86 $8
VIÑA ECHEVERRÍA Chardonnay Molina Unwooded 2002 86 $9
LAS VIÑAS DE LA CALINA Chardonnay Casablanca Valley Reserve 2001 85 $8
VIÑA SANTA EMA Chardonnay Maipo Valley 2002 84 $9
WALNUT CREST Chardonnay Casablanca Valley 2002 84 $6
VIÑA CARMEN Chardonnay Central Valley 2002 83 $8
VIÑA CARMEN Sauvignon Blanc Central Valley 2002 80 $8


Wine Score Price
J. & F. LURTON Pinot Gris Uco Valley 2002 85 $7
J. & F. LURTON Chardonnay Uco Valley 2001 84 $7
J. & F. LURTON Torrontés Uco Valley 2002 84 $6
J. & F. LURTON Tierra del Fuego White Mendoza 2002 82 $5

South Africa/Red

Wine Score Price
EXCELSIOR Cabernet Sauvignon Robertson 2002 87 $8
GRAHAM BECK Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz Western Cape 2001 86 $9
ROBERT'S ROCK Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot Western Cape 2002 83 $8
ROBERT'S ROCK Shiraz-Malbec Western Cape 2001 82 $8
TWO OCEANS Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot Western Cape 2002 82 $8

South Africa/White

Wine Score Price
EXCELSIOR Chardonnay Robertson 2002 85 $8
INDABA Chardonnay Western Cape 2002 83 $9
INDABA Chenin Blanc Western Cape 2002 82 $7
KWV Steen Western Cape 2002 81 $8
TWO OCEANS Chardonnay Western Cape 2002 80 $8
TWO OCEANS Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape 2002 80 $8

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