Wines from Argentina
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Wines from Argentina

Country Profiles

Wines from Argentina

Overview and History

Argentina is the fifth largest wine producer in the world and has a rich winemaking history. Originally planted with vines by the Spanish colonisers in the early 16th century, for many years the focus was on producing large volumes of wine for local consumption, and little was exported. In the late 1980s, vines began to be planted in cooler areas to prolong the ripening process thus producing more sophisticated wines. And since the 1990s Argentina has benefitted from foreign investment and expertise, which has hugely improved winemaking equipment and vineyard techniques thus further improving the wine quality thus leading to a much healthier export market for their wines.

Key Grape Varieties

Argentina has been rightly acclaimed for its expressions of Malbec.  Although historically Malbec’s origin is in Cahors in the Southwest of France, it is in Argentina that the grape variety has found its real and more recent fame. The most planted grape variety in Argentina, Malbec from here is always varietal and tends to be rich and robust with dark inky colour, ripe black stone fruit and firm ripe tannins; but there is immense variation in its expression depending on which part of the country it has grown, at which altitude etc. 

Cabernet Sauvignon is the third most planted grape variety in Argentina. 77% of the Cabernet plantings are found in Mendoza, and more specifically the sub regions of Lujan de Cuyo and Maipu where vineyards are located between 700-1,000 metres above sea level. Classic expressions of Cabernet from here have intense black fruit aromatics with abundant spice and a full body with ripe firm tannins; vines grown in extreme high locations have fine uplifting acidities and finely chiselled aromatics. Often produced as a varietal wine, Cabernet Sauvignon is also frequently blended with other Bordeaux varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.

In Argentina, Chardonnay is the fourth most planted variety and Mendoza is where most of the vines are planted. Vineyards planted at 1,000 metres plus above sea level is seen as the current benchmark for high quality Argentine Chardonnay. The higher altitude means a cooler climate and thus prolonged ripening which gives more chiselled and finetuned aromatic styles, with more mineral, peach, and citrus fruit aromatics, and overall better balance. Gualtallary is generally viewed as where the most premium Chardonnays are produced; wines are tropical and full bodied with creamy texture, yet the best versions have a firm streak of acidity. Barrel ageing is usual practice for top Argentine Chardonnay and adds butter and spice aromatics, with creamy textures. 

Key Regions and Sub Regions

Much of Argentina is semi-desert and very hot and dry; it is the high altitudes and cooling ocean influences which enables fine wines to be made here. The Mendoza area accounts for about 70% of the country’s wine production, with the Salta region in the north of the country and Patagonia in the south also increasingly important yet with small production in comparison with Mendoza.

It is for this reason that our main focus at the regional level at this time is:


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