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With barbecue, drink wines from Argentina

It's opening week in the majors and the barbecue is coming out of hiding: time for the first grilled burger of spring.

There are lots of ways to celebrate this convergence of events. Your favorite beer, of course; maybe something all-American.

To go vinous, try the wines of Argentina. They're fairly priced. And they're ideal with steaks, mixed grills, empanadas, steak sandwiches, chorizo sandwiches, chopped beef and, yes, even a hot dog, or pancho, fully loaded.

The 2008 Urraca Malbec ($25) is a fruity, balanced winner from a high-altitude vineyard in Agrelo, Mendoza. The wine was aged 9 months in oak barrels. Perfect with a juicy steak or medium-rare burger.

And the 2008 Colomé Estate Malbec ($25) arrives full of black fruit, with notes of cassis and pepper. The toasty wine, from vineyards at altitudes up to 8,500 feet in northern Salta Province, is made for husky dishes.

Argentina's Uco Valley yields the 2008 Clos de los Siete ($19), a malbec blend fashioned by the widely traveled wine consultant Michel Rolland. This is the seventh vintage of Clos de los Siete, minerally, fruity and floral. Merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and a splash of petit verdot join in the blend.

Play ball!


The 2008 Pindar Vineyards Johannisberg Riesling ($17), semi-dry and peachy, works with roast pork and chicken, sushi and scallops. And the Peconic white is a fine foil for spicy Asian cuisine, too.

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