Wines from Argentina are staking a minor claim in Asian markets. In some ways, the hesitant manner they are appearing reminds me of the first tentative ventures into Hong Kong of Chilean wines two decades ago. The Argentinians have much to offer. Big, bold reds from the Argentine region of Mendoza have been on sale for a couple of years. They largely use malbec grapes; the results are often spectacular. I recently tasted an equally impressive white, also from the Mendoza region which is in the foothills of the Andes. Now on sale is the 96 Alamos Ridge chardonnay. This is a generous oak-aged white, overflowing with ripe aromas of apples, pears and peaches. It has those easy creamy flavours similar to ex pensive Californian chardonnays, with a lack of acidic contrast. Imported by Watson's Wine Cellar (Fax: 2147-3994), it is good value at $99. Alamos Ridge is part of the extensive Catena Estate, built a century ago by a family of Italian migrants in a sunny Andean valley. The upmarket Catena label, which of course costs a lot more, has won global acclaim. It is one of the wineries helping to add Argentina to the world wine map.