Argentina Print
 

Enlarge Argentina mapIntroduction to Argentina

Argentina is a vast country (the 8th biggest in the world) and has vineyards spread over thousands of miles. As a result, the vineyards have incredible geography: most of them are near to the Andes mountains, amid dessert, and between 500m and 2,000m above sea level! This means that there is heat, but the mountains provide coolness and water (from the rivers flowing down the mountains).

These conditions produce lots of ripe, healthy, fruit-laden grapes, however summer hail destroys about 10% each year. This, along with cheap labour costs, makes Argentina an ideal place to produce wine – and much investment is being poured into the country.

Although Argentina grows many grapes (with about 50% being poor quality), it is best known for two varieties: Malbec and Torrentés.

  • Malbec produces full-bodied red wines, dark purple in colour, with rich tannins.
  • Torrentés produces full-bodied white wines



Argentina’s main wine-producing regions are:

Mendoza

This is the largest wine-producing area, producing more than 80% of all Argentinean wines.
with some wines being mass-produced, cheaper versions. The best wines are made from Malbec grapes.

Mendoza River Area contains smaller departments of Luján de Cuyo and Maipú - known as “the first wine area” due to the prestige that certain wines have achieved. It is here that Malbec is king, although many other grapes are also grown.

Another famous area within Mendoza is Uco Valley, with some vineyards being grown at an astonishing 1,600m above sea level. Semillon and Malbec are grown here, along with many others. Tupungato is located within Uco Valley.


San Juan

Although less than a third the vines of Mendoza, there are over 120,000 acres of vines within San Juan. The vines are planted in a number of valleys. The main grapes grown here are Malbec , Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Torrontés, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc.


La Rioja

This is a hot region but, with vineyards grown up to 1400m, a wide variety of grapes are grown. The white grape Torrontés is king here. Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon are also popular. Famatina Valley is the most famous area within La Rioja.


Salta

With the highest vineyard being over 3000m, subtle fragrant Torrontés can be grown here. However, it is also possible to produce deep-colored, full-bodied red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, as well as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah. Cafayote is the best known region within Salta.


Rio Negro

In the far south of Argentina, Rio Negro gets warm and dry summers, but cold winters. The rainfall levels are still low. The grapes ripen much slower in Rio Negro than the other more northerly regions, allowing much more subtle flavours and aromas to develop. Main white grapes are Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc; main red grapes are Merlot, Pinot Noir and Malbec. The Malbecs are old-school in style.

For more information on Argentina, go to winesofargentina.org