Food & Drinks

Reviews: Wines From the Southern Hemisphere | Cheers

For our latest round of wine reviews, we asked panelists to taste and rate wines from the Southern Hemisphere. This broad area includes some of the hottest and fastest-growing wine regions on the planet.

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, the price reflects a 750-ml. bottle. If you’re a beverage professional with a specialty in wine and you’re interested in participating in the panel, please contact managing editor Kyle Swartz at [email protected] or 763-383-4447.

FIVE STARS
(97) 4 Los Gatos Malbec (Argentina). Sourced from vineyards nearly a mile in altitude, this 100% malbec is a dark ruby color in the glass. The nose and palate both exhibit rich dark fruit, with spice hints. The mouth-filling fruit has good weight and fine texture, with a long, balanced finish, showcasing its outstanding quality. ($41.99)

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(97) DiamAndes de Uco 2015 Malbec-Cabernet Grande Reserve (Argentina). The vineyards providing the grapes for this 75% malbec/25% cabernet sauvignon blend are three-quarters of a mile above sea level, keeping the wine’s acidity in balance with its other components. Brilliant dark ruby, with plenty of red berry and cherry fruit, accented by spice and vanilla notes. Very nicely balanced, with good weight, texture and structure. ($34.99)

(96) Keermont Estate Reserve 2014 (South Africa). A serious blend of Bordeaux varietals are showcased in this stunning offering. Ripe, fresh-squeezed red berries and blackberries are seductively exposed from entry to finish. The long, dusty finish makes one think of California mountain fruit, but at a fraction of the price. The 24 months in barrel and 36 months in cellar has this ready for immediate consumption—or it can be held for manyyears. ($34.99)

(96) Vistalba Corte B Lujan de Cuyo 2017 (Argentina). A lovely blend of malbec, cabernet sauvignon and bonarda, primarily sourced from vines 70+ years old. A deep, bright garnet in the glass, the nose and palate showcase the quality and complexity of this finely crafted wine. Plenty of dark stone fruit on the nose and palate, exceptional weight and texture, with a long, lingering finish. ($24.99)

(95) Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2017 (Australia). Bold berry fruit, dark color and rich lingering finish, is the best description for this delicious shiraz. A deeply satisfying marriage of the fruit and tannin are complemented by the ever-present acidity, with a little time to air this wine becomes a rich masterpiece. ($29)

(94) Tait Ball Buster Proprietary Blend 2017 (Australia). Always one of the “go-to”wines of Australia, this might be the best vintage yet. Mostly shiraz, with a shot of cabernet sauvignon and merlot to add more depth. Dark, brooding fruit luxuriously coats the palate with notes of black cherry and dark chocolate, giving way to a plush finish of vanilla-kissed tannins. A mouthful of joy at a very friendly price. ($24.99)

(94) Krone Brut Rosé 2018 (South Africa). Lively yet elegant, with a fine mousse dancing in the glass. Lovely notes of crushed strawberries, golden delicious apple and ripe cherries arouse the taste buds, giving way to a finish with a subtle bready texture that lingers joyously. Bubble-lovers should find great value in this vintage rosé that pairs with everything from cheeses to seafood to desserts and anything in between. ($24.99)

(94) Terrazas de Los Andes Malbec Reserva 2018 (Argentina). A brilliant deep ruby in the glass, this 100% malbec has plenty of supple black and red fruit, with touches of spice. In the mouth, the bright fruit has good weight, and excellent balance, with a long finish. ($21.99)

(93) White Cliff Rosé Winemaker’s Selection 2020 (New Zealand). Brilliant salmon pink in the glass, the rosé enjoys a rich and complex nose, and palate of red berry, with faint citrus hints. The bright fruit is well balanced, with a finish sharing the same characteristics. Very versatile and enjoyable. ($16)

(93) Los Vascos Cromas Carmenère Gran Reserva 2019 (Chile). A pure carmenère wine, from vineyard sites cooled by their proximity to the Pacific Ocean, which helps maintain good acidity and freshness. A very deep ruby with touches of purple. The nose is dominated by black cherry and dark fruit, with subtle spice notes. The palate is well rounded, with the weight of the fruit balanced by the acidity. ($20.99)

(93) Tinga Rio Reserve Pinot Noir 2018 (Chile). A supple, well-balanced example of pinot noir. A great example of a fruit-forward style of pinot noir. With minimal oak contact, the weight is due to carefully harvested grapes from sustainably managed vineyards, and skilled winemaking. At this price, it’s more than a great bargain. ($12)

(93) Vina Alicia 2012 (Argentina). Plum, blue and black fruit adorn this cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc blend. Hints of licorice, cedar, cigar and fresh herbs, along with silky but firm tannins, creates a simply beautiful wine. It is a delight to drink. ($33)

(93) Don Miguel Gascón Reserva Malbec 2017 (Argentina). Nearly all malbec, with a splash of petit verdot, from a selection of multiple vineyards, the wine is a brilliant, saturated ruby in the glass. The nose and palate are dominated by dark fruit, with spice and vanilla notes. Deep and rich in the mouth, the finish is long and well balanced. ($22)

(92) Carmen Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (Chile). Ripe passion fruit notes are given complexity, with a refreshing tartness that rides along with the juicy flavors from the initial flavor attack to the lengthy finish. With layers and depth of fruit character, the savory notes bring it all together. ($15.99)

(92) Miles From Nowhere Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (Australia). Dried peach and nectarine notes joined with a nice citrus and minerality set this sauvignon apart and give it complexity. There is a mineral kick driving the fruit with an energy usually seen in a more-premium wine. ($14.99)

(92) La Riojana Malbec 2019 (Argentina). An unusual co-op of 500 growers working together as one, with a goal of making great, affordable, organic and sustainable wine while being fair-trade certified. Blackberry and ripe plum notes awaken the palate joyfully before finishing long and deep with cocoa powder notes. At this price, what’s not to like? ($11.99)

FOUR STARS
(91) Giant Sky Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (New Zealand). The Gooseberry punch sets the tone for this high-tension sauvignon blanc. Swinging from ripe juicy mouth-filling flavors to grippy mineral-driven tartness that lights up and refreshes palate. ($12.99)

(91) Don Nicanor Nieto Senetiner Malbec 2017 (Argentina). A nicely complex malbec that gives your palate a reason to happily think about all the flavors. Rich plum and berry are surrounded by firm tannins and a hint of dustiness. Perfect for those nights out with the grill. ($19)

(91) Hewitson “Gun Metal” Riesling 2019 (Australia). Named after the stones in the vineyard that have the same color and add a distinctive minerality. Loads of aromatic and juicy lime notes on the palate, while the nose screams riesling from down under with a signature new pool toy aroma. A lovely dry riesling with a palate full of citrus. ($17.99)

(91) Victoria Park Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (Australia). Cherry and raspberry notes are smooth and roll along the palate with a spice characteristic, giving the wine more definition. The purity of fruit combined with a powerful mouthfeel of grippy tannins lasts a long time on the finish. ($12.99)

(91) Victoria Park Shiraz 2018 (Australia). Plush and bold black fruit thunder across the nose and palate, along with deep chocolate notes. The midpalate and finish are smooth with plum notes and balanced with grippy tannins. ($12.99)



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