12 Wines From South America to Drink Now

Rogue Vine Itata Valley Grand Itata Blanco 2020, 12.5 percent, $20

Rogue Vine has been one of the leaders in demonstrating the appeal of wines made from old vineyards in southern Chile. One partner in Rogue, Leonardo Erazo, has had his hands in several exceptional labels, including A Los Viñateros Bravos, another Itata producer. Rogue is especially drawn to hillside vineyards in which the vines are trained into goblet shapes, without trellises, often referred to as head-trained or bush vines in English, and gobelet in French. This white is 45 percent muscat, 30 percent riesling and 25 percent semillon. It’s floral, with an almost honeyed aroma, and lightly fruity, stony flavors that persist long after swallowing. (Brazos Wine Imports, Brooklyn, NY)

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Luyt Pipeño Blanco Itata Carrizal Familia Ernesto Soto 2021, 12.7 percent, $25, 1 liter

Pipeño can be white as well as red. Louis-Antoine Luyt, who is French and lives in Chile, makes his own wines while also highlighting interesting terroirs and growers. In this case, it’s the Ernesto Soto family, which farms ancient bush vines in the Carrizal area in Itata. This cloudy, unfiltered white is made of muscat, Chasselas, Sémillon and torontel, otherwise known as torrontes. It is delicious and refreshing, fragrant with aromas of dried flowers and a kind of musky quality, beautifully textured with the flavors of tropical fruits. (Louis/Dressner Selections, New York)

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Cara Sur Calingasta Valley Finca Maggio 2018, 13.5 percent, $25

Malbec is not the only red grape grown in Argentina. This red from the Calingasta Valley in San Juan, north of Mendoza, is said to be made of bonarda, a grape from the Piedmont region of Italy that is often called the second-most cultivated red grape in Argentina. However, studies have shown that the grapes called bonarda in Argentina can be any number of obscure grapes that came from northwestern Italy or southeastern France. Cara Sur is a personal project of Sebastian Zuccardi, the proprietor of the Zuccardi label in the Uco Valley, and three partners. The wine, which is aged in concrete eggs, is lightly tannic, with earthy, stony flavors. More than 15 different grapes in the vineyard are used for this wine, a mix that is called simply “viejas tintas,” or old red grapes. (Brazos Wine Imports)

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Herrera Alvarado Cuero de Vaca Marga Marga Valley 2020, 11 percent, $28

Wines do not get much more traditional than this red from the Marga Marga Valley in central Chile, east of Valparaiso. Carolina Alvarado and Arturo Herrera harvest old vines of pinot noir and make the wine in an adobe facility without electricity, using the methods of old farmers who have been making wine for home consumption for centuries. The juice is fermented over old cow hides and then pressed through the hide, using it as a sort of natural filter. Rather than tasting gamy or leathery, this is fresh and juicy, almost like again. It will not remind you of a conventional pinot noir, yet it’s singular and beautiful. (Jose Pastor Selections/Llaurador Wines)

Leave a Comment