Thanks to its diversity in climates and terrain, Argentina is one of South America’s greatest wine-producing destinations. With Chile taking on the brunt of the Pacific’s harsh weather patterns, most Argentinean vineyards work under warm, arid conditions that help define the growth and ripening of their unique grapes. If you’re looking to take a wine tour in Argentina, here are some of the top destinations and wineries you should be on the lookout for classified regionwise.
The top wine regions in Northern Argentina
Whilst Catamarca and Tucuman are amongst the top wine regions of the north (producing excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Argentinean Torrontés), the biggest name in the region is the Salta Province.
Salta’s vineyards are amongst the first ever planted in the country, most of which grow at shockingly high altitudes. Though the temperatures are extremely hot during the day, the high-altitude location makes temperatures drop considerably during the night, helping the grapes maintain their acidity. Though the region seems to be inundated with extremes, the end products from the region are amongst the world’s best. The Salta Province is famous for producing excellent Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Torrontés & Tannat.
The top wine regions in Central Argentina
Argentina’s central wine growing region is known as Cuyo, or the desert region. Dominated by (you guessed it) dry, desert conditions, this area is home to the country’s biggest wine producers. With over 519,000 acres of vineyards, this Malbec-dominated area is the must visit spot for anyone touring Argentina’s wineries. The biggest name in the Cuyo Region is Mendoza; in fact when most people hear about Argentinean wine, this is the region that first comes to mind. Representing 60% of the country’s grape production and producing 80% of the country’s domestic wine, Mendoza is Argentina’s biggest name in the industry. Separated into five different regions (north, south, east, central and the Uco Valley), each region holds its own distinct terrain and special flavors.
North: The lower altitude region of Mendoza with mild slopes and sandy soils. Famous for their production of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc & Torrontés, and Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec - lovers of both white and red will be attracted to this region.
South: Growing under a range of altitudes, the main product of this Mendoza region is the traditional white wine, Chenin.
East: One of the highest concentrated areas for wineries and vineyards, Eastern Mendoza produces over 50% of the country’s grapes, making it Argentina’s wine powerhouse. Attracting lovers of both red and white, the east is famous for its Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Torrontés & Chenin, as well as Sangiovese, Syrah and Tempranillo.
Central: This is Mendoza’s traditional winemaking region, which produces the area’s premier wines. Though a number of notable reds and whites come from Central Mendoza, it is most famous for its production of Malbec - the country’s iconic red.
Uco Valley: Holding the area’s highest altitude vineyards, this region produces the best quality red and white grapes used for Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The top wine region in Southern Argentina
Argentina’s southernmost wine region, Patagonia is dominated by cool, flat growing conditions (quite opposite to those of Salta). Between the lower altitudes and much colder seasons, Patagonia’s wines have developed a specific taste and intensity quite different to the central and northern regions. From La Pampa and Neuquen to the southernmost growing region of Rio Negro, Patagonia is most famous for its extraordinary Malbec, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Though a few areas in Argentina do specialize in the production of a specific wine, most regions have mastered both red and white varieties. Regardless of the type of wine you are looking for or the climate you wish to visit, a wine tour with a local tour guide in Argentina is unforgettable no matter where you go. Producing some of the world’s most delicious varieties under extreme conditions and breathtaking landscapes, Argentina is definitely a wine lover’s ultimate destination.
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