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As residents of the world's fifth-largest wine-producing country, Argentineans clearly know their wine. Unfortunately for the rest of us, they love to drink it as well. Until fairly recently, only a trickle of the wine Argentina produced ever made it out of the country. Dancing the tango sure must make one thirsty.

Today, much Argentinean wine is simply too good to be kept secret-and it's often sold at bargain-basement prices, to boot.

Andes influence: Argentina's best wine-growing regions nestle up to the Andes, which provide plenty of irrigation water and a high-altitude climate featuring warm, sunny days and cool nights. With a nurturing environment like this, wine grapes simply couldn't have it any better.

Red rules: Red wines are by far the most consistent knockouts among Argentina's offerings. And this shouldn't be any surprise-what else would you be serving alongside the country's world-famous grass-fed beef?

For Argentina's best reds, think Malbec, a southwestern French varietal that actually seems to do better in Argentina than France. Often no more than a minor blending grape in French wines, Malbec becomes rich and distinctive enough to stand on its own when grown in Argentina-particularly when it's grown in Mendoza, the country's top region. Cabernet Sauvignon also yields some fantastic wines, either on its own or as part of a blend with Malbec.

A unique white: Although reds are the biggest stars, the country is also home to a number of winning whites, including ever-popular Chardonnay. Most appealing of all though, might be a somewhat obscure variety called Torrontés. Aromatic, spicy, and sprightly bodied, give Torrontés a try when you're in the mood for something not only unusual, but uniquely Argentinean.

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