The Malbec grape may be one of the five major varietals of Bordeaux, said David McIntyre in The Washington Post, but in Argentina it gets to shine on its own. “Cooler temperatures keep sugars in check,” while high-altitude vineyards give grapes high-intensity sunlight—some vineyards in the Andes foothills push 5,000 feet above sea level.

Argentine Malbecs “taste up,” meaning they may seem more expensive than they are. Ranging in style from “juicy crowd pleasers” to “broad-shouldered, lavishly oaked wines,” Argentine Malbecs can be found to suit any budget.

Bodega NQN ‘Lonko’ Single Vineyard Malbec 2005 ($19)
This “gem from the Neuquen region” has delicious fruity core.
Inacayal Select Malbec 2005 ($17)
This spicy wine’s bouquet “suggests grilled steak or other hearty fare.”
Agua de Piedra Malbec 2007 ($8)
A fantastic value” that’s juicy and uncomplicated.

High Note Malbec 2007 ($15)
This Malbec is “floral, light-bodied,” with hints of sage and mint.