If you're looking for good wines to go with the summer barbie, it's hard to go past Argentina.
Flying into Mendoza on a hot day is like arriving in the middle of a dust storm.
Dry red earth settles dustily on everything, including the grapevines in
this arid Argentine wine region, nestled at the foothills of the Andes
Welcome to one of the most exciting red wine regions in the world today:
Home to more malbec than any other grape, Mendoza's hot days, cool
nights and elevated vineyards provide near perfect conditions in which
this once forgotten grape now thrives.
There's more than a little bit of irony in malbec growing so happily in
Malbec's smoky aromas, meaty flavours and staunch tannic backbone just so happen to taste really good with Argentina's most popular food: asado - grilled meats.
Even those of us who don't indulge in asado for breakfast, lunch and dinner still need hearty red wines to drink at barbecues.
The more intense the wine, the more likely it is to work well with barbecued foods.
Wines that are high in tannin are especially good. Look for reds made from grenache or its Spanish equivalent, garnacha; malbec, syrah or shiraz, tannat, touriga nacional and even zinfandel.
Wines of the Week
2005 Barco Negro $20
Portugal might conjure up images of port and cigars but it's home to a growing number of top-tasting red wines besides, such as this full-bodied, fruity little number.
This wine has all the tannic backbone any barbecued food cries out for, and it's beautifully soft and smooth. From specialist wine stores
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2005 Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec $16
Once relegated to obscurity, the malbec grape is Argentina's answer to
shiraz. Staunch, structured and dark in colour, aroma and flavour, malbec is the perfect red to drink with smoky barbecue flavours.
This is the entry level to the Trapiche wines. See www.trapiche. com.ar
2006 Taylor's Jaraman Shiraz $28
The easy way out of a "which wine do I buy for a barbecue?" conundrum
might be shiraz, but don't just make it any old Australian version.
This big, bold, full-bodied shiraz from Taylors winery has more bells and whistles than most shirazes around this price - its smoky aromas and flavours match barbecue food well.