Looking for the perfect gift for the wine-loving adventurer in your family? Look no further. As the year comes to a close, our South America team would like to highlight the 12 best Chilean and Argentine wines to grace former Wine Spectator Editor, James Suckling’s Top Wine List of 2016:
1) Viñedo Chadwick, Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle de Maipo 2014: Coming in at 100 points, James Suckling reports “This is a wine that defines the greatness of Chile with a purity, structure and finesse that competes with the best reds of the world. And its pedigree is second to none with vineyards next door in the Valle de Maipo to the highly regarded Almaviva and Concha y Toro Don Melchor.”
2) Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Malbec Mendoza Fortuna Terrae 2012: #5 in Top 100 Wines of 2016 and #2 on our list, about the Fortuna Terrae, Suckling writes: “Today it represents a new wave of Argentine malbecs that emphasize finesse and terroir. Its balanced, elegant and intense character has no equal in Mendoza.”
3) Trapiche Malbec Cabernet Franc Mendoza Iscay 2011: If the flavor description doesn’t reel you in, just follow Suckling’s final words (yes, sir!). “Fabulous aromas of cedar, cigar tobacco and berry follow through to a full body, with fine tannins and fresh finish. Subtle and interesting with some minerality at the finish. Drink now.”
4) Viña Cobos Malbec Mendoza Cobos 2013: Another bold vintage from Mendoza, Argentina- this little number with aromas of wet earth and dark fruit coupled with flavorful dashes of spice, pepper and blueberry is going to do anything but disappoint!
5) Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Don Melchor Puente Alto Vineyard 2012: Crossing back over the Andes to Chile’s Maipo Valley. The famous vineyard of Concha y Toro wins our number 5 place. “Gorgeous aromas of eucalyptus, black currants, berries and stones. Medium to full body, fine tannins and tension. Firm, caressing texture. This remains one of the top cabs of Chile as always,” boasts Suckling.
6) Matetic Syrah Valle de San Antonio 2012: A personal favorite, this boutique, biodynamic vineyard deserves this win! Matetic Vineyards is a family run operation in Casablanca Valley and a partner property to Patagonia Camp in Torres del Paine. “Pretty blackberry and Asian mushroom on the nose. Full body, fine tannins and a lightly austere finish. Stylish and serious,” James Suckling describes this Chilean wine exquisitely.
7) Villard Syrah Valle de Casablanca Tanagra 2014: Another stunning selection from Casablanca Valley, located just outside of Santiago, Chile, this Syrah was awarded 97 points on Suckling’s list.
8) Abremundos Malbec Valle de Uco Octava Bassa 2013: A full bodied and bold Malbec, the 2013 vintage is afforable and will take any wanderluster home to the heart of Mendoza’s humble vineyards at the foothills of the towering snowcapped Andes.
9) Cheval des Andes Mendoza 2013: “Fabulous aromas of blackberry, spice and flower. Perfumed. Lavender, rose and lilac too. A wine that grows on the palate with extreme finesse and complexity that shows ultra-fine tannins, currants, and flowers. Super length. Mostly mablec with cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot” writes Suckling, finishing with a comedic, “Best Cheval des Andes ever?”.
10) Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Patagonia Sin Azufre 2015: A rarity among wines today, this Argentine Patagonian wine is not messing around! “A completely handmade natural wine. Pushes the limits of coolness. Only 340 bottles made. From 60-year-old biodynamically grown grapes” -James Suckling.
11) Seña Valle de Aconcagua 2014: Grown between the coastal and Andes mountain ranges in Chile, this combo of flavors delight the palate.
12) Zuccardi Malbec Paraje Altamira Finca Piedra infinita 2013: Our final 2016 gem of South American wine comes from the single finca, or vineyard, located in Altamira in Valle de Uco. This is “A gorgeous wine with complexity of flowers, dark fruits and spices. Full body, stones and texture. A beautiful, dense and polished wine,” remarks Suckling.
Want to visit the origins of these remarkable wines? Check out some of our favorite wine itineraries in Argentina and Chile:
Have questions? Contact me!
Your friendly South America expert,