Austin, Texas. March 3, 2009.
Imagine standing in a lush vineyard, surrounded by snow-capped, majestic Andean peaks, savoring a rich, luscious Malbec from Argentina or a fine, smoky Carmenere from Chile. Wine enthusiasts don't have to travel that far to enjoy a taste of one of the world's most popular wine regions – all they have to do is visit Whole Foods Market's first-ever “Wines from South America” celebration.
Kicking off in March, the event celebrates varietals from Argentina and Chile, two major and fast-growing wine countries with perfect climates and a reputation for producing high quality, affordably-priced wines ranging from $10 to $15. Just last year, Mendoza, Argentina was named Wine Enthusiast magazine's “Wine Region of the Year.” “South American wines are making a huge splash on the international wine scene, from the signature wines that reflect the 'terroir' or character of the region to top quality, value wines that surprise with the first taste,” said Doug Bell, Whole Foods Market Global Wine Buyer. “Whole Foods Market is excited to highlight Chile and Argentina this spring with reds and whites for every palate, occasion and budget. From the light, tropical fruit of Argentina's Crios Torrontes to the silky, fresh cherry fruit and allspice of Chile's Agustinos Pinot Noir, we've handpicked some real South American treasures.”
From March through April, Whole Foods Market will feature 10 “Wines from South America.” Shoppers will be able to sample the wines in many stores and learn about Malbec and Torrontes, two well-known varietals from Argentina, and Carmenere, a signature Chilean wine. Stores will also give away free easy-to-use wine and food pairing wheels that will help shoppers select a Tilia Chardonnay to enjoy with their Easter ham or an Araucano Carmenère for their Passover brisket.
To complement these wine selections, Whole Foods Market chefs have created three South America-inspired recipes that can be found in the Whole Foods Market recipe database: wholefoodsmarket.com – Grilled Skewers with Chimichurri Sauce, Chilean Chicken Pie with Sweet Corn Crust, and Whole Wheat Empanadas with Potatoes and Cheese. To read a blog post by our intrepid wine buyers about South America's wine growing regions beginning March 7, please visit blog.wholefoodsmarket.com.
Featured Wines from Argentina Include:
Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes,
shares enticing aromas similar to Viognier, with hints of peach, white pear, flowers and orange citrus fruit. On the palate, it has a beautiful structure and acidity similar to Sauvignon Blanc along with enticing fruit flavors. A fruity floral that is still quite dry.
Enjoy on its own or as a wonderful partner with ham, fruit desserts, goat cheeses and seafood (especially crab).
Doña Paula Malbec,
from the Lujan de Cuyo vineyards, is an opaque purple with smoky, jammy, bright blackberry and vanilla-cake oak. Pairs well with fruit dishes, egg recipes, sausage and blue cheeses.
Felipe Rutini Merlot
, from one of the oldest and most celebrated wineries in Mendoza, Argentina, displays complex but harmonious ripe black cherry and blackberry aromas and integrated notes from cola to licorice to pie. This well-made Merlot is at once spicy and creamy.
Enjoy with lamb, beef, BBQ, sausage, mushrooms, and smoked or grilled salmon.
Santa Julia Reserva Malbec
, produced from a vineyard where wildlife preservation programs go hand-in-hand with energy conservation and natural fertilizers. This Mendoza Malbec is dark violet and brilliant purple in color. It offers a good structure with well-integrated notes of spice, black cherry, raspberry, vanilla and tobacco.
Pair with lamb, grilled meats, pate or other creamy foods, including oniony, garlicky dips and cheeses.
from the Bodegas Esmeralda family winery in eastern Mendoza, shows a light yellow color with golden tones. This creamy, oaky Chardonnay has lovely flavors of pear and banana with drawn butter, light caramel and crème brûlée. The finish is clean and fresh with excellent acidity.
Excellent on its own or pair with grilled seafood, ham, artichokes, egg dishes and mild, semi-firm cheeses.
Featured Wines from Chile Include:
Agustinos Pinot Noir,
from the Bio-Bio Valley produced with estate-grown grapes using solar power and a commitment to lower carbon emissions. This great value features round, fresh cherry fruit, allspice, earthy herbs and a touch of mineral cedar that leads to a long, easy finish.
Enjoy with ham, sausage, smoked salmon, Asian foods, garlic/onion/chives and firm, flavorful cheeses.
from the Colchagua Valley where Carmenere makes its home in sandy-salty soil and heavy, rolling coastal mists. A silver medal winner at the Sixth Annual Wines of Chile Awards, this “lost” Bordeaux varietal has a deep earthiness with damp minerals, herbs, sea salt caramel and notes of smoke and black pepper.
Pairs with lamb, brisket, burgers, grilled onions, or a simple omelet with ham.
Cono Sur Vision Sauvignon Blanc,
is a refreshing, slightly dry, pale yellow-green wine with fine citric notes of grapefruit combined with minerals, fresh-mown hay and grass and bell pepper.
Enjoy alone or with light first courses such as green salads or light pasta. Also pairs well with chicken, spring asparagus, fried foods and Gruyère.
Los Vascos Special Select Cabernet Sauvignon
, from the Vina Los Vascos vineyard in Peralillo. This red is ruby in color with a great balance of acidity and oak. With hints of herbs, pepper, plum, and a little leather, this smooth and approachable wine is light and fruity with a long finish.
Pair with tomato-based pasta, pizza, salsa, grilled or garlicky foods and full-flavored cheeses.
Montes Classic Chardonnay
, from the Curicó Valley in the Andes where snowmelt waters the vines, is pale gold in color with shades of green. This big, tangy Chardonnay delivers the characteristic oak and tropical fruit with flavors of vanilla bean and pineapple.
Pair with chicken, egg dishes, mild mushrooms and cheeses like Camembert, Gouda, and Jack.
Whole Foods Market was the first grocery store to be named the “Best Wine Retailer of the Year” in 2007 by Wine Enthusiast magazine.