Have you ever tasted Argentine wines? The first thing you need to know is that Argentina is the fifth largest wine producer in the world with a winemaking history that dates back 400 years, so any bottle you choose is going to be good quality. Additionally, although Argentina is best known for its Malbecs, it also offers a wide range of other grapes and styles.
Let’s get started:
Malbec, the best place to begin.
The variety dominates the surface area under vine in Argentina, accounting for 20% of the vineyards planted in the country. It has become an oenologist’s specialty in every winemaking region and we should also note that it’s a very versatile red that can be easily adapted to different palates depending on the tastes and intentions of the winemaker in question.
If you prefer light, young reds, it’s best to take a look at young Malbecs that haven’t been aged in wood. These tend to be juicy, medium-bodied wines with well-defined fruity flavors and go very well with red meats, pasta and pizza.
But if your tastes tend more toward larger reds such as the kind made in the Napa Valley look for Malbecs that hail from the traditional winegrowing areas such as Luján de Cuyo and Maipú, both of which are in Mendoza. There, the reds are voluptuous and intense, similarly to those from northern Argentina where the altitude and arid climate enhance potency in the glass.
Finally, if you enjoy complex, sophisticated wines, right now the Uco Valley in Mendoza, Río Negro in Patagonia and the Pedernal Valley in San Juan are producing several Malbecs that are bound to suit you very well.
Surprise yourself with some whites.
The high altitude vineyards of Argentina are achieving excellent results with classic white grapes such as Chardonnay while the local variety Torrontés is as distinctive as it is delightful.
Among the Chardonnays, it’s the wines grown right up the mountain, above 4000 feet above sea level that achieve their best expression thanks to the moderate temperatures and excellent levels of sunlight one finds at high altitude. Some are easygoing and refreshing while others are more elegant and refined, fermented in barrels in the style of Burgundy or California.
When it comes to Torrontés remember that it’s a grape native to Argentina with an expansive floral signature and very fresh, flavorful palate. It’s a traditional accompaniment to beef empanadas, one of the most popular snacks in Argentina, but it goes well with all kinds of spicy, flavorful food such as Mexican and Thai cuisine.
Classic Argentine wines.
The most traditional models for reds across the globe are without a doubt Bordeaux and Rioja, both of which regions produce complex, full-bodied wines. For fans of these regions, Argentina has a long and exquisite history of assemblage blends of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, which are often finished off with Merlot or Cabernet Franc depending on the tastes of the winemaker. This classic style involves aging in oak barrels for at least a year to bring out greater complexity and refinement.
Something very similar can be found with Cabernet Sauvignon varietals. King of the reds, the grape has been grown at the foot of the Andes for about a hundred and fifty years and Argentine winemakers’ expertise with it is renowned across the world. A tip: many are eminently suitable for cellar aging.
For trend hunters.
In recent years, Argentine versions of Cabernet Franc have been seducing palates all over. It seems that high altitude terroirs are well-suited to a grape that is best known for being the star of Saint Emilion. Currently, the best results, including a few 100 point scores from distinguished critics, are being achieved in Mendoza, more specifically the cooler regions of the Uco Valley. There’s no doubt that these wines are well worth investing in for their potential and to surprise the cognoscenti among your friends.
Rosés from the Andes.
Argentina has begun to produce some excellent rosés that those who enjoy the aromas and flavors of Provence are sure to be tempted by. Some are made from Malbec harvested very early to preserve its vibrant acidity but others use Pinot Noir or, more unusually, Cabernet Franc, Granache and Tempranillo. They are different from European varieties in that they offer more volume, which makes them excellent accompaniments to pasta, chicken wings and burritos and very especially with salads and seafood.
Attention wine geeks.
The most important recent trends in the world of wine are reflected very well in Argentina. From wines made from indigenous grapes such as the Criollas (also known as Listán Prieto in Europe and País in Chile) to century-old vines to Orange Wines and Pet Nats, everything the wine-curious might like to find is made in the country. Organic and bio-dynamic wines also account for a significant share of the output of the biggest wine producer in South America.
So, whether you’re a occasional wine drinker, a wine lover in training or an expert, there’s no doubt that in Argentina you’ll find plenty to delight your taste buds and share with your friends and family.
Curious yet? Try Argentine Wine!
Did you enjoy this article? Keep reading, 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Argentine Wines