Fancy a drink? Our new drinks columnist Sam Wylie-Harris raises her glass to the week's best buys and looks at the latest wine news.

Arise Argentina

Red alert! Wine-lovers with a restless palate in search of the next "next big thing" will love the latest dark-red varieties from Argentina.

Malbec is still the South American nation's flagship grape, but Mendoza's wine-growers are storming ahead with bonarda, cabernet sauvignon and tempranillo.

Familia Zuccardi, one of the largest family-owned wineries, uses a canopied Parral trellis system which lifts the grapes into a series of luscious, green arches so the leaves can bask in the sun's rays, while the grapes are protected from burning.

It also affords the best view of the snow-capped Andes!

Dubbed the 'Parral Zuccardi', the system has allowed the winery to improve the quality of its fruit and produce a cult wine that's taken North America by storm.

Fuzion is a gentle red giant that's wowed the experts and sells out whenever it hits the shelves in Canada.

Ideal for quaffing, Fuzion Shiraz Malbec 2008 (£4.59 Waitrose) is packed full of delicious black fruit with a long finish, and is a great everyday drinker at under a fiver.

Fuzion's Santa Julia Organica Bonarda Sangiovese 2009 (£6.99 Waitrose) is a 50-50 blend, and I love its rich and plummy character. It's perfect with Italian dishes, which is hardly surprising considering immigrants from the Piedmont region originally brought bonarda to Argentina.

One such winemaker is Toso Winery which, like the Zuccardis, considers Maipu in Mendoza to be the star wine-producing area.

Experts agree that when it comes to regions, Mendoza leads the way. The high altitude, rich soil, intense sunlight and day-to-night temperature variations produce exceptional grapes.

For a magical glass of Malbec, try Pascual Toso Malbec 2008 (£7.95, with notes of blackberry and liquorice fruit, and a rich, long finish. Superb with steak.

If you're lusting after a mouthful of red that's excellent with spicy pastas, try the Pascual Toso Cabernet Sauvignon Vintage 2007 (£7.95, With dense black fruit, a hint of dark chocolate and firm tannins, it's also sumptuous with a slice of Roquefort!

Great value and trophy food pairings have put Argentina on the map, and I think it's nice to try a new wine with a social conscience.

Fairhills Malbec Syrah Tempranillo 2008 (£5.99 Tesco) is an easy-drinking Fairtrade blend that's soft and spicy with cherry and blackcurrant flavours, and embodies the trend for new-style fruity reds.

With Argentina's wine capital firmly on the radar, there couldn't be a better time for armchair travellers to discover their inner gaucho.

Best buys :: Before the glass has even touched your lips, the ripe fragrance of tannat is enough to drive your tastebuds into a wild frenzy! Made from grapes grown at 3,000m on the Bolivian border, the high altitude has melded tannat's famously fierce tannins into a moreish and robust red that's a great match to venison. Try Colomin Tannat 2007 (£9.99, Marks & Spencer).

:: This star performer has wowed the critics, and I think it's definitely worth a punt. Clos de los Siete 2007 by Michel Rolland is a blend of 48% malbec, 28% merlot, 12% cabernet sauvignon and 12% syrah. Rich with intense black fruits, a velvety texture and an elegant finish place, this vintage is in the 'serious wine for red enthusiasts' category (£11.99, Waitrose).

Liquid news :: Eco-conscious Australian winery Banrock Station is the bee's knees when it comes to Plan Bee! A third of the UK's honeybee hives were lost in the winter and spring of 2008 to naughty pests, bad weather, pesticides and loss of habitat, and Plan Bee is hoping to reverse the trend. By placing a bottle of Banrock Station in your shopping basket next time you visit The Co-op, you'll be helping to build more than 300,000 vital new hives and keeping the shelves stocked with our favourite products. And of course, this fun Aussie red! Banrock Station Shiraz Mataro 2008 (£4.25, on promotion until November 10).

:: Rum's the word! Rum lovers are warming up for some tropical sunshine and getting into the fiesta spirit for one of the world's premier rum festivals. Now in its third year, The Rum Experience in London allows you to rub shoulders and chin-wag with the world's leading rum experts, blenders and mixologists. Sample rum from hot spots such as Cuba, Barbados, Mauritius and Venezuela - and salsa to Livin' La Vida Loca with the Trinidadians. With a chance to win a trip to the Caribbean, I'm feeling an exotic island breeze and can almost taste a Mojito! The Rum Experience, October 24-25, 12pm-7pm, Royal Horticultural Halls, Victoria, London. Tickets cost £20 online ( or £25 on the door.