Mendoza is Argentina’s premier wine region’s capital city. It lies in the shadows of the Andes’s highest peak, Aconcagua, 22,841 feet above. This wine region, which also bears the name Mendoza, was once an arid, dusty and dry strip of land made inhabitable by the native population’s engineering ingenuity thousands of years earlier, as mentioned in “Discover the Rich History of Argentinean Wines”. I touch on this again because this intricate, technologically advanced irrigation system’s impact on production of Argentina wines should not be underestimated. Without this remarkably advanced irrigation system, it is doubtful that a luxury crop like wine could have gotten a toehold until much more recently. This difficult landscape was tamed, and a great vitality was born.
From the beginning, the native Huarpes created control systems that could direct water in careful measure to different farms as needed. This controlled irrigation system is still in use by modern vintners today, who irrigate vines by periodic flooding. More expensive and more efficient drip systems are gradually gaining favor, however, replacing old-fashioned methods.
Another factor contributing to Argentina wines is “La Zonda,” a warm, dry wind which, when it doesn’t blow so strongly as to be damaging, benefits vines by bringing warmth to high altitude zones and helping to eliminate pests.
In the narrow strip of land on the west coast that has become Argentina’s major wine-producing area, wineries are located at all levels of elevation. One is located at 9,900 feet! The high elevation, coupled with Argentina’s low latitude, results in more intense sunlight and greater temperature variations. These temperature fluctuations contribute to a wonderful sugar-acid balance.
Not surprisingly, Argentina wines are known for their fruity character and optimum acidity levels. Other factors, such as characteristically desert-like hot daytime and cold nighttime temperatures affect ideal wine growing conditions.
Malbec is the most grown wine, with other successful varietals being Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Torrontes. The latter is known as Argentina’s “indigenous” wine.
I would love for you to share your experiences with Argentinian wines.