Forget about country, region, producer or even grape variety; if my email inbox is any indication when it comes to wine, the only thing many of you are interested in during these turbulent times is something to sip on that doesn’t drain what’s left in your bank accounts.

Blame the economy. As it flounders in a sea of uncertainty even some of the uppity snobs I know (those that usually wouldn’t dirty their glass with the likes of a simple quaffing wine) have taken to scanning liquor store shelves in hopes of finding a recession-friendly tipple. Most have discovered that South America is the liquid oasis for those as thrifty as they are thirsty.

As the globe’s fifth largest wine producer, value-priced juice is oozing out of Argentina — especially from its major players like Bodegas Trapiche. Its Astica ($7.45 - $9.00) line is a constant winner with both the 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and 2007 Merlot Malbec solid, food-friendly easy-drinkers.

When it comes to bang for your buck Concha y Toro’s 1500 ml Frontera ($14.95 - $17.56) Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc from neighbouring Chile are hard to beat if you’re looking to trade down without sacrificing flavour.

Prices reflect the range across the country. Some products may not be available in all provinces.

– Peter Rockwell is the everyman’s wine writer, working in the liquor industry for more than 25 years and travelling the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.

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