Description 1 of 2
Mendoza is by far the largest and most prolific wine region in all of Argentina. It’s part of the larger, Cuyo region, in the west of the country, bordering the Andes, which provide a good deal of climate protection. The area is mostly hot and dry, but there is some natural river irrigation, particularly from the Mendoza from which it is named. The biggest threat is from the dry, “Zonda” winds, which have been known to damage the grapes. Many of the vineyards are high altitude, some crazy, dizzyingly high, with published reports of as high as 5600 feet above sea level. This allows for precisioned grape-growing for maximum ripeness and temperature control. The soils tend to be alluvial clay (sand over clay). Because the harvest season is predictably warm and dry from year to year, there is little vintage variation and wine-makers have advantageous control over the styles of wine and varietals produced.
Once famed for its pink-skinned grapes Criolla Grande and Cereza, Mendoza is now pretty much Malbec Central, though the other two are still widely grown for jug wine and blending. Other popular grapes grown in the region are Bonarda (brought over by the Italians), Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Tempranillo for reds. Torrontes is the popular indigenous white grape, known for its perfumed aroma balanced with tropical fruit flavors and acidity. Other popular white grapes grown are Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Semillon and Viognier.
Argentina’s wine production began to thrive in the 1880s with the expansion of the country’s railroads. The Great Depression marked major economic and political problems which slowed things down considerably until the Malbec fad started to hit in the 1970s. The 1980s marked a real turning point in the region’s wine-making history, when foreign vintners, primarily from America and France, took an interest and began to consult and collaborate with local wine-makers. Opportunities to overhaul equipment and invest in quality viticulture paid off. Investments came in, while exports took off.
Mendoza is further subdivided into these subregions:
* Las Compuertas
* Lujan de Cuyo
* San Martin
* San Rafael
* Uco Valley
Description 2 of 2
Mendoza province is located in the Center-West area of Argentina, between 31° 59' and 37° 33' South latitudes and 63° 39' and 70° 35'' West longitudes. Facing desert geography and extreme temperatures, the work of the people of Mendoza has turned this land into an oasis at the foot of Los Andes Mountains, guarded by the magnificent Aconcagua. Mendoza is the leading and most traditional Argentinian viticulture region, with 90% of its grape production destined to winemaking. The remaining 10% is sold for domestic consumption of fresh grapes. Grape by-products such as oil are also produced in the province. Climate and soil conditions foster the production of a wide range of varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and -lately- Sangiovese, Syrah and Bonarda. The latter is currently the most important red grape in the region, in terms of cultivated extension. Among white grapes Chenin Blanc, Semillón and Torrontés stand out, being used or the production of sparkling wines. Chardonnay is also produced in significant amounts. More than 80 wineries can be visited by wine lovers and connoisseurs all over the province, with the guidance and services provided by professional winemakers and staff members. Beautiful estates, old houses and "estancias" specially designed for tourism are waiting to be discovered. These places offer excellent services and the possibility to be in contact with nature. Moreover, the most prestigious wineries are increasingly organizing advanced wine tasting courses and seminars targeted to expert audiences.
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