The end of summer is approaching and that means it's time to GET - get to the beach, get to concerts in the park, get tan, and get out of town. But with the dollar in a major slump, not all of us can afford to vacation for a month in the South of France (or even Fire Island for that matter). That doesn't mean you can't GET the party going and bring the exotic locale to you. Throw an armchair traveler wine tasting party for all of your friends still in town. Pick one country and have everyone bring a corresponding bottle. Print out and laminate wine maps to use as place mats and scour vintage stores for old postcards to use as invites (or better yet, call the local embassy to see if they have anything you can repurpose)!
My pick is Argentina, where your dollar still gets you 3 pesos to 1, and subsequently amazing wine values. Argentina is known for its Malbec, the deep, delicious red that holds its own against a big, juicy steak. My favorite is the Ben Marco Malbec from Mendoza, the heart of Argentina's wine country. A bargain at $15.99, it's deep, inky purple color lends perfectly to the smoky, deep plum and fragrant berry flavors. It's a Javier Bardem to us. A bit mysterious and brooding but tempting to drink it in one big gulp. Another enticing, dark layer is revealed with each sip, which is why I LOVE Malbecs.
But don't be fooled by Argentina's darker side, it's brimming with fruit-forward, value-driven whites as well. My favorite is the organic Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes. Susana is the "it girl" when it comes to Argentinean wine and her Torrontes shows us why. A native Argentinean grape, the Torrontes immediately brings to mind Blake Lively.
It's light and lively with a heady aroma of wild flowers, but shows a surprising dry finish. It doesn't have a ton of substance, but it's perfect for an end-of-summer evening on the terrace. You might not have a view of the Andes foothills, but this armchair traveler is sitting pretty with an Argentinean summer sipper in hand.