Tours in Argentina

Argentine Wine

Argentine Wine: national drink

Author: Diego – Tours in Argentina / Posted on April 1, 2021

Argentines are passionate about wine, this romance dates back to the year 1551 when the first vine brought from Spain was planted in the province of Santiago del Estero. These first vines were introduced mainly by clergymen of the Catholic Church in order to use wine in the ritual of mass, remember that Argentina was a Spanish colony. In this way the vine spread from the hand of the Jesuits and Franciscans throughout the colonial territory. The Argentine Independence stopped trade with Spain, and this caused a great boost in national wine production. In 1853 the first French vines brought from Chile were introduced. At that time Chile already had an important local production, and due to its proximity to this country, the provinces of San Juan and Mendoza became the epicenter of Argentine production.

Argentine Vineyard
Argentine vineyard at the foot of the Andes

Today Argentina, thanks to its 17,600 producers, has become the fifth largest wine producer in the world, behind Italy, France, Spain and the United States; and the eleventh exporter in the world. Among the 127 countries where wine is exported, the markets of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and the Netherlands stand out. Our country has 948 wineries and 23,931 vineyards distributed in 15 of the 23 Argentine provinces, highlighting the great production of the province of Mendoza that makes 85% of the local wine. Mendoza, in order of importance according to its production, is followed by the provinces of: San Juan, Salta, La Rioja, Catamarca, Neuquén, Río Negro, Córdoba, La Pampa, Tucumán, Buenos Aires, San Luis, Chubut, Jujuy and Entre Ríos.

Wine production
Argentine provinces with the highest wine production

Wine consumption in Argentina averages 29 liters per person annually. And in order to promote Argentine wine throughout the world, in 2013 Law No. 26,870 was enacted, declaring Argentine wine a “national drink”. Wine has been consolidated based on social habits typical of Argentine culture and identity, rooted in the family and friendship environment. In addition, it contributes to the socioeconomic sustenance of the producing provinces. These Argentine provinces have a wide diversity of climates and soils that make each region a unique terroir. From the highest vineyards in the world in the province of Salta, located in northern Argentina (such is the case of the Colomé Winery, which since 1831 has made its famous high altitude wines at 2300 meters or 7546 feet above sea level), to the southernmost vineyards in the world (this is the case of the Otronia Winery located in the province of Chubut, Argentine Patagonia). Although the region of the center – west and northwest of Argentina are the historical areas with the highest production and superlative quality of the different vines, today the wines of the Patagonian region (south) are gaining ground.

Harvest of wine grapes in Mendoza
Harvest time of wine grapes in Mendoza

Among all the vines grown in Argentina, the undisputed queen is Malbec. Originally from the Bordeaux region, it is the emblematic variety of Argentine wine production. Grown in most of the Argentine producing provinces, it represents 21% of the country’s total vine. The province of Mendoza concentrates 85% of Malbec in the country, followed by San Juan with 6%. According to the ranking prepared by the prestigious publication Wine Spectator, the award for the best Malbec in the world in 2020 has been awarded to Chacayes 2015 from the Piedra Negra Winery located in the Uco Valley, Mendoza province.

Argentine Malbec
Bunches of Malbec grapes in Argentina

In case you are vacationing in Argentina and want to buy a bottle of wine, here are some expert tips…

According to the international critic and British “Master of Wine” Tim Atkins, among the best wines in the world in 2020, the Argentines stood out:

  • Per Se Uní del Bonne Sant Malbec 2018 –  Per Se Winery from Mendoza
  • Cheval des Andes Malbec and Cabernet 2017 – Cheval des Andes from Mendoza.
  • Michelini I Mufatto Certezas Semillon 2017 –  Manoni Winery from Mendoza
  • Colomé Maximum Height Malbec 2017 –  Colomé Winery from Salta
  • Noemía Malbec 2018 –  Noemía Winery from Río Negro

In the opinion of the international American critic and editor of the prestigious Wine Spectator magazine, James Suckling, among the best wines in the world in 2020, the Argentines stood out:

  • Chacra Treinta y Dos Pinot Noir 2018 – Chacra Winery from Río Negro
  • Cheval des Andes Malbec and Cabernet 2017 – Cheval des Andes Winery from Mendoza.
  • Adrianna Vineyard White Bones Chardonnay 2018 – Catena Zapata Winery from Mendoza
  • Adrianna Vineyard River Stones Malbec 2018 – Catena Zapata Winery from Mendoza
  • Viña Cobos Malbec 2017 – Viña Cobos Winery from Mendoza

For the publication The Wine Advocate of the American critic Robert Parker, the Argentine wines deserving of the perfect rating of 100 points in recent years are:

  • Adrianna Vineyard River Stones Malbec 2016 – Catena Zapata from Mendoza (100 points)
  • Gran Enemigo Single Vineyard Gualtallary Cabernet Franc 2013 – Aleanna from Mendoza Winery (100 points)
  • Finca Piedra Infinita Gravascal Malbec 2018 – Zuccardi Winery from Mendoza (100 points)
  • Per Se La Craie 2017 Malbec and Cabernet Franc -Per Se Winery from Mendoza (100 points)
  • Adrianna Vineyard White Stones Chardonnay 2019 – Catena Zapata Winery frome Mendoza (99 points)
  • Adrianna Vineyard River Stones Malbec 2018 – Catena Zapata Winery from Mendoza (99 points)
  • Finca Piedra Infinita Supercal Malbec 2018 – Zuccardi Winery from Mendoza (99 points)
  • Per Se Uní del Bonnesant Malbec 2018 – Per Se Winery from Mendoza (99 points)

These are just a few examples of the thousands of top-class Argentine wines that you can taste while touring our country. In Argentina there are different “wine routes” that you can enjoy if you are a wine lover. You will be able to enjoy the exquisite wines, the wonderful Argentine landscapes and some of the most beautiful wineries and vineyards in the world (this is the case of “Zuccardi Valle de Uco” winner of the title of best vineyard in the world for the second year in a row, distinction awarded in the World´s Best Vineyards competition, ranking made by the company William Reed).

Argentine Vineyard and Winery
Zuccardi, best winery and vineyard in the world 2020

In case you only have time to visit Buenos Aires you will not find vineyards, but you can experience an exquisite wine tasting by excellent local sommeliers in different neighborhoods such as Palermo, Monserrat and San Telmo.

To toast and cheers!

Author: Diego – Tours in Argentina / Posted on April 1, 2021

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