IT'S WEIRD to think that barely a dozen years ago, Argentina was the land of bargain wines, the cheap and cheerful styles that would always please the purse but rarely tease the palate but boy have they gone a long way.

I should add a caveat, boy have their reds gone a long way because, to be honest, while there are the odd one or two interesting whites, I'd still rather have a rash in a delicate area. Most of the whites have a thin and sometimes tired taste to them but don't worry, my hunt continues at a pace. Many of their red wines, however, are in a different league altogether, particularly the rich Malbecs and Bonarda styles and more recently their Cabernet Sauvignons are becoming a thing to behold.

Chile still has the edge on their neighbours when it comes to Merlot but if you are prepared to trade up on the Argentinian shelf, their wines are rapidly becoming the best value fine wines in the world. The best of the bunch come from Medoza and La Rioja with San Juan coming up just behind but while the quality is increasing all over the country, the top quality wines are produced in the high altitude vineyards of Mendoza with some of them easily comparable to many of Bordeaux 2nd growth wines.

The nice thing is that it’s one of their own homegrown winemakers, Nicolas Catena Zapata, who has done more to elevate the quality and standing of their wines. There’s just one thing to remember with the big Argentinian reds though... bring steak, lots of steak because these big, juicy, bruisers are anything but appetisers.

Luigi Bosca De Sangre

A stunning blend of Cabernet Merlot and Syrah from one of the best. Well structured with sumptuous blackcurrant fruits, vanilla and spice. A real delight

Waitrose £14.99

The Party Malbec

Opulent is definitely the right term for this wine with a floral, enticing nose and masses of ripe raspberry and plum fruits on the palate.

Marks & Spencer £14.00

Gerard Richardson