Both Chile and Argentina are also producing unique wines of real character, many of them at prices that are fractions of their Old World European or even U.S. counterparts thanks their to the much lower labor and land costs. You just need to know where to find them.
Ezequiel Eskenazi, the down-to-earth founder of XumeK, is carving out a wine lifestyle destination a solid two hours drive northwest from Mendoza in San Juan, complete with a life size reproduction of a whale constructed by famed artist Adrian Villar Rojas as a tribute to the site (now upwards of 800 meters above sea level, but which used to be a submerged seabed in ancient times). The wines are fitting tribute to the stark beauty of the site, and their Syrah is a bargain—Crayola does not make a color this purple, and the big blue fruits deliver just about what you would expect from taking a look at the stunning hue of this wine in the glass, with the added bonus of some nice stony, mineral notes. Where the Syrah really shines, though, is in the mouthfeel, where it puts on a clinic for the price-point and will very likely ensure a quickly drained bottle at your next BBQ.