There's no escaping malbec in a discussion of Argentinian wine, but why would you want to? First grown in southern France, malbec grapes grow well in both the high and low altitudes throughout Argentina. The result is a deep red wine with notes of plum and cherry that has become the quintessential Argentinian wine.
Bonarda grapes are the second most cultivated grape in Argentina (in terms of growing area planted with the variety). Bonarda grapes are commonly used in blends or for cheap red table wines intended primarily for domestic use.
Cabernet sauvignon, the hybrid of sauvignon blanc and cabernet franc grapes, also thrives throughout just about every region in Argentina.
The ubiquitous merlot, a red popular for its smooth flavors and floral or fruity undertones, loves the cooler regions of Argentina, particularly the Rio Negro province.
Syrah does well in the relatively high altitudes of the San Juan region, producing a deeply colored, spicy tasting red wine.
Tempranillo, a red typically associated with Rioja, Spain, was among the earliest grape varieties to come to Argentina. It thrives in the warm areas of the Mendoza region, resulting in a wine with intense color and a lot of tannins.
Criolla grande grapes have been grown in Argentina for centuries, and have flavors and characteristics unique to this area of the world. Of course "unique" isn't always a good thing: Criollas are typically associated with the lower quality wines that were once a trademark of Argentina's cheap table wine industry.
Just as malbec is the quintessential red of Argentina, torrontes is the country's most important white. The torrontes riojano grape is the only varietal native to Argentina, producing crisp white wines that are fruity, yet balanced and dry rather than overly sweet.
Chardonnay, a white grape first produced in France and popular throughout the world, is widely grown in the central, northern and southern wine growing regions of Argentina.
To read more about great wines, visit the links below.
- Altura Argentina Wine Tourism. "Wine Facts and History." (July 15, 2011) http://www.argentinawinetourism.com/wine_tourism_argentina/01-wine_in_argentina/06-wine_history_argentina.htm
- Day, Matthew. "Argentine or Argentinian?" Wine-Pages.com. 2003. (July 8, 2011) http://www.wine-pages.com/guests/contrib/mdargent.htm
- Lamar, Jim. "Malbec." Professional Friends of Wine. (July 15, 2011) http://www.winepros.org/wine101/grape_profiles/malbec.htm
- Neilson, Daniel. "Argentinian or Argentinean: Decisions, decisions…" The Real Argentina. Jan. 3, 2011. (July 8, 2011) http://www.therealargentina.com/argentinian-wine-blog/argentinian-or-argentinean-decisions-decisions/
- The Real Argentina. "Argentina History of Winemaking." (July 8, 2011) http://www.therealargentina.com/history-of-winemaking/
- The Real Argentina. "The Real Argentina: Wine Guide." (July 8, 2011) http://www.therealargentina.com/category/argentina-wine-guide/
- Schoenfeld, Bruce. "Argentina's Growing Wine Regions." Travel + Leisure. Sept. 2009. (July 10, 2011) http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/argentinas-growing-wine-regions
- U.S. Department of State. "Background Note: Argentina." Sept. 16, 2010. (July 15, 2011) http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/26516.htm
- Von Bremzen, Anya. "A Lesson in New Argentinean Wines." Food & Wine. Sept. 2009. (July 15, 2011) http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/a-lesson-in-new-argentinean-wines
- Wines of Argentina. "Argentina's Wine Regions." (July 8, 2011) http://www.winesofargentina.org/archivos/Arg_Wine_Zones_1.pdf
- Wines of Argentina. "Torrontes Riojano: A Perfect Balance of Fruit and Acidity." May 2, 2010. (July 15, 2011) http://www.winesofargentina.org/en/vino/gastronomia/ver/2010/02/05/torrontes-riojano-equilibrio-perfecto-entre-fruta-y-acidez/
- Wine Institute. "World Wine Production by Country." April 13, 2010. (July 11, 2011) http://www.wineinstitute.org/files/WorldWineProductionbyCountry.pdf