The Top 5 Argentine Wine Regions (That Aren’t Mendoza)

 


It’s an indisputable fact that Mendoza rules the Argentine wine scene. With 395,000-plus acres of planted vineyards, the region accounts for more than two-thirds of the country's wine production. For any first-time visitor to the country, Mendoza is a must-visit. The well-established wineries, restaurants and resorts are more than worth your time, and the Malbec will make you want to never leave. But for adventurous travelers or second-time visitors there’s so much more to Argentina.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

San Juan

Several hours drive North of Mendoza in the Andean foothills, San Juan, with its more than 116,000 acres of vineyards, is Argentina’s second-largest wine region. Hotter and drier than Mendoza, the region is famous for intense, resonant wines, which is probably one of the reasons its Syrah is gaining fame in recent years. The region also produces a fine Malbec, but that nearly goes without saying for any Argentine region.
 
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

La Rioja

La Rioja (no, not the Spanish La Rioja) is hot, dry and famous for white wines high in alcohol and low in acidity. The lack of rainfall – roughly 5 inches annually – makes for challenging growing conditions but a very distinctive terroir. The region is particularly well known for its Muscat and Torrontes Riojano, an Argentine specialty white grape. 
 
Photo credit: The Telegraph

Salta

Salta’s wine industry is, for good reason, quickly climbing the South American wine ladder, especially the subregion of Cafayate. Salta is famous for its high-altitude wines. Cafayate grapes are regularly grown at 5,600 plus feet, and there is even a 10,000 foot vineyard, which seems like a joke until you get dizzy from altitude sickness. With hot days and cool nights, the region does well with Torrontes grapes for white wines and Syrah for reds.
 
Photo credit: ipaimpress
 

Catamarca

Like Salta, Catamarca is growing and evolving as a winemaking destination. The region’s striking mountain landscape is nearly entirely empty of people, and with only about a dozen bodegas in total, visiting Catamarca is like traveling to a wild western frontier. It’s a stunning place for off-the-beaten path wine tourism and a must for adventurous travelers, but as investment and new business moves in, expect some of the rustic feel to wear off.
 
Photo credit: Argentina Travel

Patagonia

Patagonia is certainly not the first name in Argentine wine, but it is very much a destination. The region’s pristine environment, particularly its amazingly pure water, complements the long growing season. Lately, the flat and cool Rio Negro valley is producing crisp, no frills Malbec. Winemaking in Patagonia has existed for less than a century, so the region has a lot of catching up to do, but the chance to visit the southernmost vineyard in the Americas is worth it. 
 
Photo Credit: Men’s Journal
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Comments

  • What happen to the Bonarda grape? It’s the second most widely planted grape in Argentina. Bonarda is the "Argentina's next Malbec".

    Oct 31, 2014 at 9:49 AM


  • Sent from iPhone.
    Pardon any auto corrections.

    Oct 31, 2014 at 10:00 AM


  • Snooth User: byrnesey
    1325953 27

    Agree with Snoother. Have enjoyed excellent Bonarda several times.

    Oct 31, 2014 at 7:33 PM


  • Snoother, you're absolutely right -- Bonarda is an up-and-coming grape. For a long time, it was planted mostly for less-expensive table wines, but as many winemakers are expanding beyond Malbec, they're turning to Bonarda. Heading to Argentina again in three weeks. I'll let you know if I taste any exceptional Bonarda!

    Nov 04, 2014 at 3:28 PM


  • Kevin, if You have the opportunity, taste DANTE ROBINO Bonarda 2012 - it´s a superb Bonarda from Mendoza

    Nov 05, 2014 at 11:30 AM


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