Argentina: Wine History and Wine Regions
By Go2 Winery
Being the largest wine producer in the continent of South America, Argentina is now a leading and sought after region all over the world. A premier wine producer of the ‘New World’, the wines of Argentina come from deserts at high altitudes in the eastern Andes. The unique terrain and grape varieties grown in this region have given rise to unmatched quality of wine in the continent and are best suited for the local grape variety i.e. Malbec. This grape variety originated from Bordeaux and is typically intense and bright with dark fruit flavor and floral notes. Some of the most popular wines that have come from Argentinean wine regions include:
- Bodega Catena Zapata 2005 Argentino (Mendoza)
- Alta Vista 2006 Single Vineyard Temis (Uco Valley)
- Achaval-Ferrer 2007 Finca Bella Vista (Perdriel)
- Pascual Toso 2007 Alta Reserva Las Barrancas Vineyards (Mendoza)
- Bodega Noesmíade Patagonia 2007 Noemía (Río Negro Valley)
- Bodega NQN 2006 Colección NQN Patagonia Universe ( Neuquén )
Most wine making in Argentina occurs in Mendoza in the foothills of the Andes mountain range. The intensely flavored and highly aromatic wines that rise from the high altitude deserts make Argentinean wine truly unique. While Malbec remains the most popular grape variety of local winemakers, several plantations include Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Bonarda.
History of Argentinean wine
Wine production and consumption in Argentina goes back several centuries when Spanish colonizers brought the first varieties of grapes to the American continent. The first grape vines in Argentina were planted in the mid 16th century and quickly spread throughout the region. The ideal cultivation conditions in the Andes favored quick and extensive growth in Argentina. Soon enough, locally produced wine became a part of Catholic celebrations like the Holy Mass. By the 19thcentury, new cultivation techniques as well as grape varieties were introduced by Europeans and by the late 19th century, Argentina gained an international reputation.
The first agriculture school was then founded in 1853 in Mendoza where scientific cultivation and wine making techniques were taught in the region. By 1873, the country has already expanded to vineyards spanning across 5,000 acres and in the next twenty years, this expansion continued five-fold. With the changing landscape and climate, the types of grapes grown too diversified, leading to a wide array of Argentinean wines that became popular in Europe. By the early 20th century, Argentina was home to hundreds of vineyards spanning across 519,800 acres and by 1960, a completely modernized system for production and distribution was introduced.
By the 1990s, the wine industry in Argentina found its peak with the introduction of neo-liberalism, attracting local and foreign businesses to the region. With increasing demand for top quality wine, Argentina became a leader for domestic consumption and international exports.
Different wine regions of Argentina
Argentina is home to several wine regions that produce a fine variety of white and red wines that rich in flavor and are laden with floral overtones. Here are the major wine regions of the country where exotic varieties of Malbec, Chardonnay, Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon etc are grown.
- Cafayate – Calchaqui Valley
- La Rioja
- Uco Valley
- San Juan
The most popular grape variety used in Argentina is the Malbec and nearly 3/4th of the cultivation in the country happens in Mendoza. The Andean water makes up for the lack of adequate rainfall in the region and lends a unique touch to the grape cultivation. Higher in the Andes, wine regions like Catamarca and Salta are home to world renowned vineyards by Bodega Colome at an altitude of 3,000 meters above sea level.
At lower latitudes in the country, wine regions closest to the equators are found in cold yet equatorial mountains. Their signature grape variety Torrontes is widely grown in the region and produces an aromatic white wine with strong floral tones. Near the Atlantic Coast, Argentina’s Patagonia is home to two wine regions called Neuquén and Rio Negro. In this wine region, the climate is generally cooler and leads to the production of fine wines like Pinot Noir.
Sparkling wines from Argentina are ideal as aperitifs or post dinner treats. With sweet and mellow flavor palettes, sparkling wines from Argentina are truly a testament to its long and eventful journey from becoming an unknown region to a world renowned country for producing fine wines. With unique blends of white and reds, Argentinean grapes are known for their unique and floral flavors and remain one of the strongest wines.
Helping connect communities and business owners to the wine industry.
Tracy Lee Thomas
All We Do Is Wine
For more information please visit;