Argentina

Argentina by rights should be far too hot to be a wine growing region; however they have a super power on their side – altitude! This gives cooler conditions for the vines to grow and grapes to ripen and really comes to the fore with their two major grapes Malbec and Torrontés.

Key Grape Varieties and Regions
  • Mendoza: Malbec, Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Torrontés
  • Cafayte: Malbec, Torrontés, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • San Juan: Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon

History

Argentina has emerged as a serious global producer in the £10-30 price range and is hard to beat at this level for its reds. Times are changing though and more variety is emerging with terrific potential for Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc as well as Chardonnay.

Argentina’s wine history is very heavily related to the mass immigration of mainly Spaniards and Italians in the 19th century, with many vineyards being planted around Mendoza and San Juan. Malbec is the flagship grape, a variety that is originally from Cahors in France but has really flourished in Argentina with a vibrant fruitiness, deep colour and greater depth of complexity and concentration.

Nowadays, since a huge fast-paced  advancement in technology and wine practices Argentina is in the top five wine producing countries in the world and is constantly experimenting with new varieties; some indigenous like Torrontés and some more recognisable such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

In the vineyard

The biggest problem that faces Argentina’s vineyards is the desperate need for irrigation. Much of the areas under vine are arid and desert like. While it’s true that stressed vines produce some of the best grapes, some water is needed, therefore both drip and flood irrigation techniques are used.

Many vineyards utilise the cool misty air that falls from the Andes to help their vineyards flourish. Alititude and the temperature difference between day and night are also essential to ensure ripe fruit quality in Argentina – without these, grape growing at this latitude would be near impossible.

Hennings Wine says

Malbec is far and away the ruler of the land here and we have some great oaked and more fruit forward unoaked examples (try the Serbal Malbec ). We also boast a great selection from heavily awarded producer Zuccardi; the range offers a great Malbec, but also some more interesting choices such as their Bonarda, and Torrontés which is available both dry and sweet!

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