Except for a handful of first-growth Bordeaux, the wine list at Francis Mallmann 1884 features only Argentine wines. That sounded like a daring idea just a few years ago, but now that Argentine wine is a world-recognized phenomenon (with some phenomenal wines), it seems perfectly natural. Here are a few favorite Argentine selections.
Bodega Norton Sauvignon Blanc Mendoza 2002 ($6)
A zippy, bracing Sauvignon Blanc with a long, tangy finish.
Santa Julia Viognier Mendoza 2002 ($9)
Bright, aromatic notes and ripe, juicy fruit make this a great food wine.
Martins Malbec Mendoza 2002 ($8)
A super-bargain Malbec (Argentina's hallmark varietal) with dense, concentrated flavors of blackberry, herbs, and spice.
Crios de Susana Balbo Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza 2001 ($15)
One of Argentina's leading women in wine makes this lush, smooth Cab with sweet oak and spice.
Bodegas Salentein Malbec Mendoza 2001 ($18)
This Malbec's searing, juicy acidity and lovely plum-berry fruit are explosive. Great steak wine.
Tikal Corazón Mendoza 2001 ($20)
A generous, modern blend of 40 percent Malbec and 60 percent Bonarda with gorgeous plum and berry fruit.
Caro Mendoza 2000 ($40)
This proprietary Cabernet-Malbec blend is a joint venture between Nicolás Catena and the Rothschilds of Lafite; complex flavors of spice, wood, and intense blackberry fruit.
Terrazas Gran Cabernet Sauvignon Los Aromos Vineyard Mendoza 1999 ($40)
A stylish high-altitude Cabernet, dense with earth, spice, and lovely black raspberry.
Achával Ferrer Quimera Cabernet Sauvignon-Malbec-Merlot Mendoza 2000 ($50)
A boutique winery blend with complex, lavishly styled flavors; worth a search.