Viticulture in Argentina
Italian, French and Spanish immigrants brought their viticultural experience with them in the 18th and 19th centuries and made Argentina into a modern wine-producing country. Their vine husbandry know-how improved the quality of the grapes and resulted in a wide variety of wine styles, which remains a mark of Argentinian winemaking to this day. During the military dictatorship, corruption and economic isolation harmed the Argentinian wine industry. Although a great deal of wine was consumed, despite widespread poverty, this was at the cost of quality. Argentina's winegrowing regions recovered only very slowly. Ultimately, however, reducing yields, stipulating the use of only quality varieties, and other measures paid off.
Running from north to south, Argentina has the following winegrowing regions:The altitude causes wide fluctuations in temperature in the course of a day, which is beneficial for the grape's aroma: the heat during the day increases the sugar concentration, although this is milder than in other parts of the country. The cool nights produce a refreshing acidity and expand the aromatic spectrum. A dry climate with low rainfall is also characteristic of all Argentina's wine regions, so artificial irrigation is necessary. This is sourced from meltwater from the Andes and well water. Thanks to a sophisticated artificial irrigation system that goes back to the aboriginal Indian inhabitants, the province of Mendoza became Argentina's most important winegrowing region. Vines in Argentina have an impressive average age of 50 years.Thanks to the prevailing climatic conditions, the country is ideally suited to organic winegrowing methods. The low rainfall means that vines are less prone to fungal infections. Argentina's winegrowing regions boast a wide range of grape varieties. All types of wine are produced: rosé, red and white wines. The most widely cultivated grape varieties are Criolla Chica, Criolla Grande and Cereza. One Argentinian idiosyncrasy is a separate category for pink grape varieties. The high-yielding varieties Cereza, Criolla Chica, Criolla Grande and Moscatel Rosada are used primarily for sweet mass-produced wines. They are usually blended with white varieties. But top-quality white wines are also produced, first and foremost being the varieties Pedro Giménez , Torrontés and Chardonnay. Wines made from the Argentinian grape Torrontés are full-bodied and pleasantly crisp. Many vineyards in the Salta region especially grow this grape. It is also prized for its elegant bouquet and distinctive nutmeg aroma. Top-quality Chardonnays are also made. As a dry still wine, it exhibits a beguiling fine note of nutmeg. However, the grape is more commonly used as the basis for fine sparkling wines. No wonder then that the legendary Champagne house Moët et Chandon has a branch in Argentina. Bodegas Chandon in Mendoza is part of Argentina's winemaking industry. In addition, white wines are also produced from Ugni blanc, Riesling, Semillon and Muscat of Alexandria grapes. The varieties used for red wines are Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Bonarda, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Pinot noir and Tempranillo. Purple-red Malbec wines are a major export hit. This red wine is usually refined in barriques and ages well. In Argentina Malbec achieves a level of quality that French products cannot match. The best Malbecs therefore now come from South America. The red Cabernet Sauvignon grape shines above all in a typical Bordeaux-style blend. A three-level quality and control of origin system guarantees the quality of Argentinian wines:
- La Rioja
- San Juan
- Río Negro
- La Pampa
- San Luis
Great diversity of wines
- Denominación de Origen Controlada (DOC)
- Indicaciones Geográficas (IG)
- Indicaciones de Procedencia (IP)
- The highest quality level is the DOC category.