Argentina's Extreme Wines

February 17, 2017

 

Argentina is a country of extremes. Just look at the climates and the geography- from subtropical to deserts, from mountains to glaciers and pretty much everything inbetween.

 

These extremes make Argentina not only an incredible country to visit, but a country with incredible winemaking potencial. These diverse climates mean that Argentina can produce many varied and distinctive styles of wine.

 

Many of the Argentine wineries that export tend to be very large commercial operations that focus on easy drinking-a-little-bit-sweet styles of Malbec - Argentina’s signature grape. However, if you spend some time in Argentina, or if you make it to one of our Wine Tastings, you will discover a range of styles, grapes and regions waiting to greet you...

 

Here we are going to take a look at the three most important wine regions in Argentina, including a few tips to help you choose the wine for you.

 

Mendoza

 

The principal wine making region in Argentina - over 70% of the wine produced in the country hails from Mendoza. The region lies next to the Andes Mountains in the west of the country, giving the vineyards high altitudes. The vineyards in Mendoza range from 600m up to 1800m above sea level (1970 ft -5900 ft). These extreme heights are very important for wine production - the higher, the cooler, which is incredibly important in such a hot, dry climate, such as Mendoza’s.

 

 Blue, Clear Skies - Typical Mendoza!

 

Subregions to look out for -

The higher climbs are where we find the best quality wines. Lujan de Cuyo and Maipu are two of the older subregions in Mendoza. Here you find some of the best known wineries in Argentina.

 

Further south you find the Uco Valley, the region of the moment. It is here we find the highest and coolest vineyards in Mendoza. The Uco Valley has become popular since the mid-1990s, when winemakers started to search for higher altitudes and cooler temperatures, resulting in more elegant wines with fresher acidity.

 

Varieties to look out for -

Malbec (of course!), Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot

 

 

Salta

 

In the north west of Argentina, Salta is similar to Mendoza but much more extreme. Higher, hotter and dryer. Salt boasts the highest altitude vineyards in the world. The highest lying a little over 3000 m (10,000 ft) above sea level.

There is nothing subtle about the wines from Salta, so if you like explosive, aromatic whites, or rich full-bodied reds, Salta is a great place to look.

Known as ‘Salta la Linda’ or Salta the Beautiful, it certainly is stunning, visitors flock to salta in the thousands each year to marvel at the spectacular scenery, local cuisine and traditional culture.

 

 

 Salta - Enough to make you thirsty

 

Subregions to look out for -

 

Cafayate - the main winemaking region, Molino, El Arenal

 

Varieties to look out for -

Torrontes, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat

 

 

Patagonia

 

Known worldwide for its adventure tourism, lakes, glaciers and mountains. It’s also one of the most important wine regions in the country. The wine industry is based in the north of the region, far from the chilly glaciers! The wine region has a much lower altitude than both Mendoza and Salta. However due to its southern latitude, the temperatures are cooler. This makes it the perfect region for growing varieties such as Pinot Noir, chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merot.

 

 Patagonia - Lakes, Mountains and Wine... What more do you need?

 

Subregions to look out for -

Rio Negro, Neuquen and La Pampa

 

Varieties to look out for -

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Malbec

 

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