There’s far more to South American wines than just the produce of Chile and Argentina. Yes, they knock out some truly exquisite wines (that you’ll see below), but South America is also home to some incredible boutique wineries found in Brazil and Uruguay too.
Why drink South American wine?
If you’re after relatively inexpensive, every day drinking wine, South American wine is probably what you’ll turn to. Renowned for its easy quaffability, South America has a ready supply of Cabernet Sauvignons, Sauvignon Blanc and of course Malbec.
And while the majority of the exports retailed in the UK are from the big producers, there is a growing number of small, quality producers who focus on traditional grape varieties and exploring new and exciting aspects of viticulture that typically haven’t been seen in South America.
Add to that an emergence of wine coming out of little known wine producing countries before, such as Brazil and Uruguay, this whole continent is set to make a real impact on the world wine stage.
Our recommended 4 wines
If there’s one Argentinian wine that everyone knows it’s Malbec, and for good reason. This ancient French grape which is largely used to blend in Europe, is so expressive in Argentina, it would be rude to blend it with anything else.
Of course, like every country, they have their own home favourites, and when in Argentina, the homegrown red is Bonarda. While it’s quaffable, made for easy drinking, it doesn’t even come close to matching Malbec. Torrontes is Argentina’s signature white; a fresh, aromatic wine that is perfect for sipping on those long, hot summer days.
Over 60% of Argentina’s wine production happens in the Mendoza region, however the Lujan and Uco valleys yield the best Malbecs in the world. So what would we recommend from this phenomenal wine producing country?
Well, it couldn’t really be anything other than a Malbec, and this Susana Balbo Signature Malbec 2018 is an absolute charm. It doesn’t just lead the charge, it is the charge. If we had to pick just one Malbec to drink for the rest of our days, this would definitely be a contender.
Full bodied, fresh, balanced, harmonious with ruby rich fruits, fine tannins and a round, flavourful finish. If that doesn’t have you smacking your lips, what will?
Brazil might be best known for its flamboyant carnivals, beautiful beaches, and acres of Amazon rainforest, but with over 90,000 hectares of vineyards, Brazil really is starting to make some noise on the global wine scene.
Viticulture was first introduced to Brazil in the 1500s and the country hasn’t looked back. Almost 80% of the vines in Brazil are thick skinned Isabel vines, tough plants designed to withstand the extreme weather conditions. From the hot tropical north to the mild south where the majority of vineyards are located, the whole country is ripe for winemaking.
Red wines are the predominant wine produced here due to the climate, and what a delight they are. They tend to be pretty easy drinking, light and fresh, lower in alcohol than the full bodied reds you might be used to, but that doesn’t mean they’re lacking. When you see them on iVino, snap them up.
Chile is home to the carmenere, an ancient grape that has long fallen out of fashion in Europe. But in Chile, this grape variety is incredibly common and they’re proud to call it their own. But that’s not what Chile is famous for.
Chilean wines are best known for its affordable Cabernet Sauvignons, Chardonnays, and most recently, its Sauvignon Blancs. In an area that spans just 500 miles, there are 14 different wine producing valleys - from the Maipo Valley, to the Casablanca Valley, to the Colchagua Valley, all of these regions have their own terroir, resulting in their own identifiable wines.
But which is our recommended Chilean wine? Our preeminent bestseller is our intense Ventisquero Grey Glacier Cabernet Sauvignon 2017.
This wine is brimming with Maipo’s signature fruity flavours, from raspberries to cassis, with a twist of black pepper and a depth of sultry tobacco notes. Elegant, smooth, balanced - this is a wine that delivers on mouthfeel, leaving you desperate for more.
Wines of Uruguay may be the second smallest country in South America, but for a country of its diminutive size, it certainly packs a punch wine-wise.
With over 250 years experience producing some truly exquisite wines, Uruguay wine is not to be missed. The introduction of Tannat vines in the late 1800s set the stage for Uruguay to shine, proving to be the perfect vine-match for the temperate maritime climate and the clay soils. And it’s been Uruguay’s signature wine ever since.
Uruguay wine is more similar to Old World Wine than New World, in both style and taste, as the climate in the country is very similar to that of Bordeaux. The majority of the wineries are family run businesses, and pretty much all the wines are handmade, infusing them with love and dedication that only a small business can. And this is reflected in the quality of their produce.
Offering outstanding value for money, Uruguay wines give the rest of the South American continent a run for its money. Just try our fruity Vina Progreso Overground Pinot Noir 2018 and discover for yourself what this lesser known wine producing country has to offer. Pale garnet, fragrant with red fruit and perfectly balanced, this Pinot truly is a wine worth taking your time over.
Why not try each of them, and then decide for yourself who’s the South American winner?