Mendoza is the heart of Argentina’s wine production and famed for its ability to grow red grapes that are big, juicy and very full flavoured. Technically this area should be too hot to produce wine that is drinkable but thanks to the cooling influences of the Andes and the altitude of the vines, Argentina, Mendoza in particular, is able to pull out some real crackers!
- Cabernet Sauvignon
Facts about Mendoza Wines
Mendoza’s flagship grape is Malbec, originating in the small French town of Cahors where the grape is leathery with tart black fruit and often shows bitterness. Mendoza has firmly made Malbec its own; here the variety is voluptuous with sweet tannins and bursting with fresh berry fruit.
Over 70% of all the wine produced in Argentina comes straight from Mendoza.
Steak, Steak, Steak. The classic food-match when it comes to wine pairing in Mendoza.
The vineyard area in Mendoza covers over 160,000 hectares, making it one of the largest wine producing regions in the world!
Although the vineyards are situated in near desert conditions, they are able to produce grapes because of three main cooling influences: 1. drip irrigation 2. snow melt that trickles down the Andes into the province and 3. altitude, these vineyards are almost 2,500ft above sea level, creating cool nights and increased daytime sunshine – perfect and vital for high quality grape growing!
Classifications (the technical bit)
Although there are no certified classifications for Mendoza, it is divided into three sub-regions, all offering a slightly different character to the winery production in Mendoza.
Uco Valley – South west of Mendoza and the highest vineyards of the area. Altitude brings freshness and acidity to the wines.
Lujan de Cuyo – The majority of the premium wines come from the sub-region within Lujan de Cuyo. A high proportion of the vines here are ungrafted which leads to a soft and rounder flavour with a sweeter spice.
Maipu – situated to the east of Lujan, these are the lowest vineyards and showcase many of the old vine varieties from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo in addition to Malbec.
Selected Mendoza Region Wines
Hennings Wine says
Argentina has really only been exporting wine worldwide for the last 30 years, and is constantly redeveloping itself. Malbec is of course king, but keep an eye out for interesting varieties creeping out of the region too, in particular Bonarda and Cabernet Franc.
Cabernet Sauvignon looks like it’s got a great future too, according to some prominent winemakers.