With the popularity that Malbecs from Argentina enjoy today, it is almost impossible to believe that wines from Argentina were largely unavailable only 20 years ago! Although Argentina has just recently burst onto the international wine scene, the country has quietly been producing quality wines for centuries–since Spanish settlers brought vine cuttings to South America in the 1500s. Quality wine production has steadily expanded throughout Argentina ever since.
Winegrowing regions in Argentina lie just to the east of the imposing Andes in the rain shadow of the mountains. Argentina’s wine regions are some of the most unique in the world: located in a desert, irrigated by Andean snowmelt, and with many vineyards planted at dazzlingly high elevations. The two most notable regions are located in the provinces of Mendoza and Salta. Mendoza lies just east of Santiago, Chile, and it is undoubtedly the capital of Argentina’s wine production. Salta is farther north — just south of the border with Bolivia. The latter region produces a large proportion of Argentina’s quality white wines.
The grape varieties grown today in Argentina certainly reflect the country’s European heritage. The most popular and most widely planted grape is Malbec; which originally hails from southwestern France. The country also grows a large amount of Bonarda, which was brought to the country by Italian settlers. Finally, the aromatic white grape grown in Argentina called Torrontés is a hybrid of Muscat, and vine cuttings brought by Spanish settlers to the area. In recent years, Argentina has started growing internationally popular grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. While the reds from Argentina are certainly great, we will leave you with this pointer: don’t pass over the whites and rosés because you will miss some fun surprises and great values!
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