Impressive (And Widely Available) Natural Wines for $13

In the highlands of Argentina's Mednoza is the subregion of Tupungato. Here the air is thin and dry, and less needy of antifungals, herbicide, and other chemicals. Which makes it practical to farm organically. The owners of the Virgen line of natural wines have a history of organic farming here, and, with this brand, have taken it to the next level by making the Virgen wines sulfite-free.

Though the broader portfolio is a work in progress, the cab and malbec both exhibit real promise at a head-shaking price. Tasting notes are nearly identical for both, but each is faithful to their own variety. The commonalities are many between the 2021 Virgen Malbec Natural Tupungato ($13) and 2021 Virgen Cabernet Sauvignon Natural Tupungato ($13)

Freshness, varietal honesty, and lip-smacking drinkability are chief. Dense purple with violet edges, the first wafts coming out of the glass are a bit musty, but that blows off pretty quickly, replaced by an alluring nose of black and red fruit, high-flying spices, and delicate flowers. Texture is seamless, body is medium-full, and the flavor profiles make for a joy ride. Pretty wines, with far more elegance and authenticity than the price would suggest. Impressive. 91 points (Samples)