Well, as promised, here is a postdated look at a Chilean red wine for $20 or less. I took home a wine I already knew I liked, Bubble Brothers' own La Fortuna Malbec
, which we sell for €11.50.
Argentina, rather than Chile, is the South American country most often associated with Malbec wines, so this Chilean example is a bit of a curiosity. The reason La Fortuna make it is simply because they can: the land where their Malbec grows suits the vines down to the ground, as it were. It's an interesting wine to offer people in a country where every fourth bottle sold is from Chile, and nearly all of it, I would guess, Cab/Merl/Sauv/Chard. So, a different grape, but with the perceived reliability and familiarity of Chile - not such a hard sell, and a foot in the door to selling some of our other Malbecs, or perhaps La Fortuna's Carmenère (I could have chosen that instead).
This wine is organically produced, for what that's worth. If it was a car journey, it would be my drive home (not in winter, when it's dark): interesting and involved at the beginning, with plenty to enjoy if you like that kind of thing and have a little patience; then smooth and straight ahead, with better scenery than the average, always something to enjoy but not distracting; and quickly, safely home. No further comment needed.
Further comment (gave it a second whirl before leaving home this morning): Forward plum and bramble fruit on the nose, with perceptible complexities of chocolate, rubber and so on. Smooth tannins support ripe fruit and leather, chocolate flavours, lingering to a clean, short finish.
Works for me.