Chardonnay can be nearly as confusing for consumers as riesling. So many regions around the world grow it, and it can vary from almost flinty minerality to fully blown butterscotch and buttery oak flavours. But the current trend, towards leaner, more cool climate chardonnay is, at least for us, a welcome one. Alamos in Argentina makes a sensational cooler climate chardonnay (only $14), with grapes taken from vineyards planted on the high foothills of the Andes mountains, reaching as high as 6,000 feet. Yes, there is a hint of butterscotch here, but a great crisp apple note, along with some peach stone, and a fulsome mouthfeel. Ideal with grilled fish, which you purchased at your local fishmonger, who knows about sustainability. Leave enough in the glass to enjoy at least one episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Also from Argentina, the Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec is a luscious, ripe mouthful, and at $20, a serious bargain. It is not all that reminiscent of less expensive malbecs, but rather has bountiful ripe black fruit on display, with fine tannins and a structure aided and abetted by 12 months in French oak. The wine is kept in bottle for another 12 months before commercial release, so it boasts a richness and maturity that reward you this very evening, as you ponder just what those trade offers for Ryan Miller actually were.