When someone mentions tango, gaucho, pampas, or asado, it’s easy to think of Argentina.
However, when the wine is the subject, malbec is the word that best elicits modern day Argentina. Today malbec accounts for approximately 40 percent of red grape plantings in the country at 45,661 hectares, or more than 75 percent of the world’s malbec. A quick look at BCL store listings would suggest Argentine wines are moderately popular, but they could still learn something from the French. Out of 89 wines, 43 are listed as malbec. Only one of those labels sells for over $100, while more than half sell for less than $20. Contrast that with France, which boasts 1238 wines in the market, 83 selling for $1000 or more. In short, the Argentine category could use an infusion of site-specific malbec and malbec blends if it’s going to climb out of the cheap and cheerful category. In the meantime, we present a list of malbecs we like for the price that are widely available across British Columbia. If you are planning a barbeque and you want some soft, drinkable red wines, start here.