High-end vino is wonderful, but sometimes you just want something fun, feisty and easy to drink. If this refrain sounds familiar and you’re on the lookout for an unchallenging tipple, the under-appreciated Argentinian wine Bonarda fits the bill perfectly! This wine is a bit of a hidden gem for those on the lookout for a bright red with few tannins and high acidity.
Before we continue, however, it’s worth pointing out that Argentina Bonarda is a wholly different wine than the more commonly known Italian Bonarda. Argentinian Bonarda is in fact not made from Bonarda grapes; instead, this wine derives its taste from Douce Noir. While Douce Noir is an Italian grape, it’s now widely grown in Argentina and is the second most planted grape after Malbec. Originally this grape only used to add color to blends and was favored for its relatively high yield. However, in recent years growers and producers have starting to take advantage of the tasty potential of Douce Noir.
The first thing you’ll notice after taking a sip of Bonarda is how fruity it is. Black cherry, plums, figs, and other dark fruits are immediately present from the first taste of the wine. Depending on the bottles age, it’s also possible to pick up hints of allspice, 5-spice, tobacco, chocolate, and flowers. However, these notes are less present than the punchy fruit notes.
As a great complement to the fruity taste, Bonarda is almost mouth-puckeringly acidic. In fact, the wine is so acidic you might find yourself double checking to make sure you haven’t accidentally opened a dry white. Bonarda also has very little body, with most bottles falling somewhere between light and medium. This coupled with the lack of tannins makes it a juicy, zesty wine that’s dangerously easy to drink and enjoy.
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: any red wine with high acidity and low tannins is perfect for food pairings. Bonarda is no exception to this rule. Like many other reds, Bonarda goes well with a variety of beef, lamb, and pork dishes. Thanks to its unusually high acidity and low tannins, the wine is also light enough to pair with chicken and meaty fish dishes. In fact, a glass of Bonarda with some seared salmon is an ideal combination.
Bonarda is also a great wine for fans of Italian food as it pairs extremely well with tomato-based dishes like spaghetti bolognese and pizza.
On the flip side of the coin, it’s not advisable to pair Bonarda with particularly pungent cheese. Instead, stick to soft and mild cheeses to bring out the best in this wine.
Wines to try
El Enemigo Bonarda ($30)
Strong floral and fruit notes combine to create a beautifully balanced wine.
Zuccardi Emma Bonarda ($40)
Very acidity with a punchy fruity aroma and a pleasant herbal quality.
Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda ($9)
Lacking in subtly but extremely tasty. Strong notes of dark fruit and vanilla.