Argentina & Argentinian Wine
Argentina has grown, and is growing in importance and confidence in it's wine industry. Despite making almost five times as much wine as Chile, it is Chile that has dominated the export market from South America. But Argentina is catching up.
Towards the end of the last century, confidence to invest in the Argentinian wine industry returned. They invested in their wineries in a concerted effort to join the world wine party. The progress made in viticulture and oenology, is possibly greater than anywhere else in the world for this period. Hopefully financial stability has also progressed.
Mendoza is the main grape growing region, found in the Andes, an area that is vast and varied. Although close to the equator, the vineyards are at a high altitude, in fact everyone seems to be going higher - looking for the limit of where grapes can be safely grown without suffering frost damage. Look out for the precise altitude of the vineyards on some bottle labels.
Chile's well known regions are very close to Mendoza.
Argentina boasts a wealth of natural resources and areas of great scenic beauty, including high summits and plains, lush forests and absolutely arid deserts, woods and steppes, glaciers and waterfalls. Any landscape you may imagine, you can find somewhere on Argentine soil.
Argentine wine making regions are often located in broad valleys or sloping plains and offer ideal conditions for grape growing. Their locations are are far from cities and their pollution. Some stand out for their altitude, such as the Calchaquíes Valleys, in the North; others for the aridity of the land, such as the valleys in the provinces of Mendoza, San Juan and La Rioja; and there are also low altitude oases in Patagonia, with intense ripening periods.
Due to the high altitude and low humidity of the main wine producing regions, Argentine vineyards rarely face the problems of insects, fungi, molds and other grape diseases that affect vineyards in other countries. This allows cultivating with little or no pesticides, enabling even organic wines to be easily produced.
Malbec has been the most planted grape variety in Argentina for many years, but Argentinians didn't really prize this grape - perhaps seeing it as too local, and so not special. Malbec vines were pulled out and mainly replaced by the variety Bonarda, the Argentinians then found this grape too common!! So didn't chose to drink that. wine. It has taken sometime for them to realise that Malbec is their point of difference. Their near neighbours look enviously across at them. Guess if you've got it, you don't always appreciate it. They are famous for Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon grows well in the high and dry climate of Mendoza along with their top white wine Torrontes. Patagonia produces exceptional Pinot Noir.
Argentina is the fifth highest producing country in the wine world, but gone are the days of producing for quantity alone. Quality is now the focus and aim.