While you may not have access to the same local grass-fed-beef, at least you can drink like an Argentinian. Malbec is the grape of choice for red meat down there and it's especially good with spicy dishes. With its gobs of rich, red fruit and dark spicy tones, malbec seems like it was created just to complement the local cuisine. North Americans are amidst a love affair with the grape right now, so the selection has never been better. There are many solid examples on the market but if you want to find something truly interesting its best to stick with the smaller producers. Here are a few of my favorites:
You have to go all the way to Argentina to find people as crazy about meat as we are. So... you like to get together with a few friends on the weekend and grill up some grub do ya? Well you haven't got anything on the Argentinians. When it comes to chewing the fat, Argentina ranks numero uno in the world, no one eats more meat than they do. We Canadians rank a mere 7th eating only about half as much annually, shame on us. The weekend tradition of the asado (meat grilled on an outdoor pit) is a must for every Argentinian and chorizo is almost always on the menu.
2008 Joffre Passion 4 Malbec Rosé - Argentina $16.95 - Lets warm up with a little pink wine. What's that? You don't like pink wine! Shame on you, I'm not talking about the sickly, sweet white zins you grew up on. This is authentic rosé, think of it as a red wine that didn't quite make it all the way there. It expounds scents of wild strawberries, fresh herbs and ripe cranberries. Its mouth watering appeal will keep a smile on your face while you busily tend your grill - just try to remember to save some for dinner. Hot tip - rosé is often the best choice for spicy food as it helps keep the mouth fresh and counteracts the heat.
2007 Goulart Reserva Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina $23.95 - Welcome to the dark side. This brooding black-hole-of-a-wine is intense and rich, with exotic spices and firm structure. It doesn't just want a spicy meal to keep it company, it needs one, badly. There's a lot of training-wheels-malbec out there, but this one's definitely not for the faint of heart. If it was a bike it would be a Harley, chopped and painted with some bad ass graphics. If you spill any on your shirt, just throw it away.
2008 Infinitus Malbec- Spain $16 - If you think Argentina has the monopoly on malbec you're wrong. The grape's popularity explosion has it spilling over into all sorts of unlikely places, including Spain. This version is less a bully and more a soft, amiable acquaintance. Ripe, pretty red fruit is tangled up with notes of wild spices and smoked meat flavors. All in all, not a bad splash of juice for 16 bucks.