The Wines of Argentina 101
Taking a look at the where, what, whys and whens of Argentina
It might be surprising to learn that Pedro Gimenez is the most common white grape variety planted in Argentina, with about 28% of the vineyards devoted to white varieties. Used to produce sweet wines, like its cousin from Sherry, the Spanish Pedro Ximénez, it’s a variety we rarely see in the USA. Instead our Argentine white wine offerings are usually built around Torrontes and the ubiquitous Chardonnay.
Torrontes is considered to be an indigenous Argentine variety, a result of crossing Muscat of Alexandria with the Mission grape that early missionaries brought with them to the New World. The spicy floral character of the Muscat is an obvious trait of Torrontes, which tends to show citrus and apricot fruit on the palate. Torrontes is actually a family of grapes, with three distinct clones being responsible for the vast majority of Argentina’s production. Two in fact, the Torrontes Riojano and the Torrontes Sanjuanino are responsible for the bulk of production.
Other white varieties in decreasing order of acreage include: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Viognier