Gaucho Glass

Virginia's Malbecs are a local taste of Argentina

Virginia's homegrown superstar grape may be Norton, but a variety with a South American accent is conquering this year's vintages. Malbec–the darling of Argentina's wine country–has blossomed from a blending grape to a single-varietal bottling at local wineries.

Plush, fruity and affordable, these wines are easy to sip on their own, though they pair well with grilled steak and garlicky chimichurri sauce, dark chocolate or even autumnal squash dishes. Here are a few favorite local bottles:

2008 Corcoran ($26) This bottle packs a spicy wallop of black cherry and coffee flavors with tiny hints of chocolate, plum and vanilla. It's an excellent dinner companion now, but it will age into an even smoother pour over the next few years.

NV Bogati Bodega ($20) In its freshman season, this vineyard and tasting room has debuted a dark, ruby-colored Malbec with bright berry flavors and a cedary finish. The wine is at its best sipped in one of the tasting room's cozy leather armchairs, with spiced chicken and beef empanadas.

2009 Pearmund Cellars Reserve ($25) This lighter-style Malbec has strawberry and raspberry flavors that are warmed by time in new oak barrels, making it perfect for grilled pork, roast turkey or the winery's favorite pairing, veal with mushrooms.