CONVENIENT WINES: Top 5 Picks For Wine at the Convenience Store
Article by Sharon Salt.
Look, clearly one of the best parts of living in Buenos Aires is the wine. The wine, the wine, some empanadas, and the wine. I feel obligated to point out that while it’s true that YES I drink a lot of wine and YES I do happen to dance tango, these are not the only wonderful things about Argentina – but wine is what we’re going with today anyway.
Wine here is good, and it is relatively cheap. In the States, I would never shell out a mere $5 for a Malbec unless I had a death wish, but here, $5 in pesos will get you wine in a bottle, not a box – and it will be good. Sometimes if I feel really fancy, I’ll spend the equivalent of $10 and all my friends will ask why I went overboard.
Additionally, it’s because of these low prices that I have finally amassed enough corks to start making tables and bulletin boards a la Pinterest, a feat which I never could have accomplished had I stayed in the States.
Before we get any further, I must admit: I know nothing about wine. Well, hardly anything. I once took a wine class in college – not for credit, don’t worry – wherein I couldn’t tell the difference between chocolate and grass undertones to save my life and I don’t think I ever used the spit bucket. But I promise I can tell what is good from what is bad. In general. Some other things I know are: Malbecs from Argentina are almost always good, and Bordeaux is from Bordeaux and is very heavy and best with meat. Also, never buy wine in China.
I also know a lot about convenience store wine because that is where I often get mine, and it is this information that I wish to impart to you now that I have earned your vote of confidence as an expert in this field. I know we’re making a lot of jokes about my lack of expertise here, but please trust me when I say that even my foodie friends approve of these choices, despite the prices, because really, we’re in Argentina and wine wine wine.
Without further ado, in no particular order, my top picks for good wine you can almost always find at the convenience store:
For previously stated reasons, you will never hear me talk about bouquets and wine in the same context – not even on Valentine’s Day, I am a modern woman – but apparently the Santa Julia’s have nice bouquets. So I’ve heard. All I can tell you for certain is that they’re all good, and the Malbec is quite the steal.
My go-to when I’m particularly strapped for cash. But remember, low price does not a bad wine make. I will shamelessly bring this to parties, actually, though it’s also not something I announce freely. I always figure, if it’s good enough for me home alone on a rainy night after sushi in bed, it’s good enough for friends of friends of friends. It will not disappoint.
The malbec is good, of course, and they also have a really sweet white variety (look for the sparkly llama, is all I can say) – but your best bets here are the torrontes or cabernet sauvignon, both of which are from Cafayate just south of Salta, where Quara is based. Also, it’s worth noting that the corks are notoriously hard to remove.
Standard standby, reasonably priced. Someone has told me more than once that there are hints of cherries, plums, vanilla and a bit of dulce de leche in there somewhere, but all I know is that I do like it, and I wish I could taste those things. I have tried, and I can only think that my inability to sense any kind of sophisticated palate must be related to my enlarged adenoids, right? (I have made a note to call my mom about this matter at a later date.)
This is a relatively new line from Finca Las Moras, but nobody can explain to me how or why it’s related to Dada, though it does make for some pretty fun commercials. There are three different flavors in the line: the first with vanilla, the second with mocha, and the third with spices. I know this because there are pictures on the labels. Less of a standby for me, maybe, but sometimes I like purchasing something named after an art movement, y’know? Not terribly expensive, either!
Bonus: A handful of my friends swear by Callia, but I have yet to try it myself.
In conclusion, a convenient wine is always usually sometimes the best wine. Drink and be merry!