Argentina is a wine lover’s paradise with the best wines produced in the western Mendoza/San Juan wine region and northern Salta/Cafayate province. Both areas have large and small scale Bodega’s (vineyards) offering tours.
Mendoza alone produces approximately two-thirds of the country’s entire wine production due to the average 300 days of sunshine per year here. Cafayate on the other hand, receives an average of less than 250 mm of precipitation per year, making it a wonderful grape growing area as well.
I arrived in Argentina a bit of a wine “beginner” and am happy to say I learned (and drank) a lot during my travels here. I’d like to share a bit of an intro to Argentinian wine’s to get you started on the right bottle.
Malbec is a classic Argentinian wine and a good bet in any region. This wine is originally from southwest France and falls on the taste scale between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It flavor is bold and fruity, but a bit softer than some other reds.
Best paired with: Steak and chorizo sausage dishes.
The ultimate red wine and my personal favorite, originally from the Bordeaux wineries of France, it now is among the best wines made in Argentina. This is a strong, full bodied wine with rich flavors of black currant and earthy, dusty notes. Best to buy something a little older and let it breath to avoid the high tannin levels of the younger wines.
Best served with: Beef and lamb dishes
Also known as Shiraz, is a powerful, woody wine predominantly grown in the San Juan province. It is good for lengthy savoring and to balance strong flavors in meals. It features a deep, nearly black color with a berry aroma and due to being aged in casks, has a wooden flavor with notes of plum, black cherry, clove and black pepper.
Best served with: Game meat, turkey, sausages and mustard sauces
Another Argentinian staple wine, Torrontes originates on the shores of the Mediterranean but grows wonderfully in Argentina’s northern province. It produces a fresh, fruity, aromatic wine that is quite dry and similar to a Viognier wine.
Best served with: Smoked meats, mild-medium cheeses, seafood and spicy dishes
Similar to the popular Riesling wine but lesser known outside of Argentina. Semillion wines have a sweet, creamy taste with flavors of honey, vanilla and lanolin. This grape is found mainly in the Mendoza area and is often used to make premium ice wine.
Best served with: Chicken dishes and salads
This wine is crisp, dry, and refreshing with a herbal and citrus aroma. It is originally from the Loire Valley of France and popular with experienced wine lovers because of its pronounced flavors. The wine ranges in style from light and dry to full and sweet.
Best served with: Seafood and cheeses such as goat cheese
For More Information:
Wines of Argentina
Wine Vacation Destinations: Mendoza