The Wines of Argentina 101
Taking a look at the where, what, whys and whens of Argentina
While Argentina produces plenty of wines from a range of familiar varieties their flagship wine must be Malbec for the reds and Torrontes for the whites. Malbec of course comes from Southern France where it produces earthier, and more structured wines in the form of Cahors than one typically encounters from Argentina where the grape achieves greater ripeness allowing for the production of wines that are bursting with black cherry and blackberry fruit while retaining some of the herb and spice notes commonly associated with the grape.
While Malbec accounts for over 30% of vineyards planted to red varieties, it’s not the only important red wine grape in the country. Bonarda, which was only recently supplanted as the most common red variety, currently with about half the acreage that Malbec covers, is important both commercially but also as a counterpoint to the ever more ambitious styles of Malbec. Known as Charbono in the USA, Bonarda produces a simpler wine than Malbec, plump, juicy and fresh, it’s commonly used as a blending grape in Argentina.
Other red varieties in decreasing order of acreage include: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Pinot Noir.