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Argentina is the world's fifth-largest producer of wine and has been producing wine for approximately 500 years. It all began when the Spanish first brought wine cuttings to Argentina in 1556 to the Mendoza and San Juan regions. The Argentinian wine industry had expanded greatly by the 1900s, but the Great Depression hit Argentina hard, resulting in a big decline in the industry. It wasn’t until the 1990s when Argentina started to export enough wine for the wine industry to recover completely. Argentina is known for a number of different wines, including Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, but its most famous wine is the mighty Malbec. For the aficionados among you, Malbec originated in Southern France, but the most popular versions actually come from Argentina.
There are 5 key wine-producing regions:
Spanning roughly 360,000 acres, located on the western edge of Argentina on the border of Chile, Mendoza is Argentina’s leading wine-producing region, producing, in addition to Malbec, Syrah, Torrontes, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. Mendoza experiences sunny days and cool nights so the grapes ripen more slowly, providing rich flavours whilst maintaining their acidity.
The San Juan region’s 116,000-plus acres of land grows Syrah, Bonarda, and Douce noir grapes, which produces a number of brandies and sherry-style wines. Its semi-desert temperature makes it an ideal climate for Malbec, which is grown in vast quantities at a high altitude, and vineyards can be anywhere between 600 and 1200 meters above sea level.
Home to 20,000 acres of wine-growing land, La Rioja has some of the oldest vineyards in the country. With a high altitude and the area experiencing restricted water flow, this has caused a scattered distribution of vineyards. This wine region is closer to the equator than many others, but this latitude in combination with the high altitude causes overnight ripening, a longer growing season, resulting in a balanced taste of acidity and ripeness in the fruit, making for a vibrant taste.
Northern Argentina is home to two of the country’s most popular wine-producing regions, Catamarca and Salta. Both of these regions have approximately 5,800 acres of land that grows Torrontes, Tannat, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
Catamarca is a large area but is limited by a small amount that can be planted to vine. The grapes have longer ripening periods caused by the low latitude and high altitude of the region getting more intense sunlight during the day and cool mountain air typifying the evenings.
Conversely, Salta vineyards experience low latitude and high altitude making an excellent climate for growing grapes resulting in bright and intense flavours such as Chardonnay and Torrontes.
The Patagonian wine region spans close to 10,000 acres boasting many cool-climate grape varieties like Pinot Noir, Torrontes Riojano, and Malbec. A significant portion of the grapes used for Argentinian sparkling wine comes from this region. The altitude is much lower than many other Argentinian wine-growing regions, and the warm days and cooler nights make the growing season longer.
With very minimal rainfall, a lot of the key regions, including Mendos that are classed as semi-desert, harvest occurs between the months of late February to April. It is marked with a local harvest festival called the Fiesta de la Vendimia which attracts people from all over the world.
With a number of grape varieties, including Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot Toronto, and of course, the most famous Malbec, Argentinian wines have truly flourished from their humble beginnings!
Whilst our selection of Argentinian Wins is relatively modest, we select only those which are happy to recommend based on quality and price. Head over to our dedicated Argentinian Wine Page to see what we have to offer. Some of our Argentinian favourites you might want to consider:
Find out more about other wine producing countries: