This wine is why the Wine Curmudgeon loves his job.
It was a sample, and the only the only thing I knew about it was that it cost $9 and came from Patagonia, which is the Argentine wine region that isn't Mendoza. I had no expectations; Patagonian wines aren't common, and the guy who gave me the sample knew nothing else about the wine. Plus the winery web site didn't work, and there were few references to the wine elsewhere in the cyber-ether.
And what did I find? Wine of the Week delight. Hall of Fame bliss. This may be the best $10 red I've tasted since the demise of the much beloved Solaz. The Picada is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, and pinot noir (yes, Argentine pinot) and the result is balance between acid, fruit and tannin in a way that almost never happens with wine at this price. Yes, it's fruity, but the fruit isn't sweetish or heavy, like most $10 Mendoza wines. Which is the reason I don't drink most $10 malbecs and malbec blends.
Yes, the Picada is a little thin in the middle, but that's because I'm looking for something to complain about. And, believe it or not, there is a white blend that was almost as tasty, and a malbec that was somewhere between the white and the red blends. Drink this if you want a glass of red wine but don't want to be overwhelmed by fruit, acid, alcohol or tannims; it will pair with almost any red wine kind of food. Highly recommended.