Currently, Argentina is the 5th largest producer of wine in the world. Although Argentinian wine is considered a “New World” wine, the wine industry in this country has been evolving over the last five centuries. Argentina is famous for its Malbec wine, with more than 97 acres of vineyards across the country dedicated to growing this specific grape.
What’s unique about Argentinian wine?
Argentina benefits from much diversity in terms of climate and soils. Argentinian wines are made at high altitudes – some of the highest in the world – where the air is thin and fresh, but the sun’s rays are highly concentrated. As a result, the grapes form a thick, tough skin which contributes to the wine’s colour, tannin and flavour intensity.
At high altitudes, the climate is generally cooler, especially at night. The drop in temperature halts sugar production and therefore forces the grapes to ripen slowly, helping them to retain their acidity.
Argentina wine regions
Around 60% of Argentina’s wine production comes from the Mendoza region, the largest wine-making region in Latin America. Situated at the base of the Andes, Mendoza is home to some of the oldest vineyards and traditional wineries in the country.
Many of Argentina’s flagship Malbec wines originate from high altitude wine regions such as the Uco Valley district. The Uco Valley is one of the best places for viticulture in Argentina; some of the vineyards here are situated at between 1,000m and 1,500m above sea level.
The Malbec grape is very inky in colour, a deep vibrant purple, with a tough skin that results in a flavoursome and aromatic wine with a velvet-like texture.
San Juan is the second largest Argentinian wine region, with more than 47,000 hectares of vineyards planted to take advantage of the continental warm, dry climate. The most famous wine here for growing is Syrah, also known as Shiraz, but you can also find Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Bonarda and more.
The La Rioja region, along with San Juan and Mendoza is known as Cuyo, a name given to the wine-producing areas situated in the central-west mountainous area of Argentina. Two main grape varieties are grown in La Rioja: white and rosé. Heading up the wines produced in this region is its Torrontés Riojano (more on this particular wine later), followed by Bonarda, Syrah, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Patagonia (Río Negro, Neuquén and La Pampa)
Patagonia, situated in the most southerly part of Argentina, also produces some outstanding Malbec wines, along with elegant Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc varieties.
Río Negro is one of the main wine-growing sub-regions in Patagonia, having been established for more than a century. Neuquén is another notable wine-growing sub-region; although relatively young, it’s already seen significant growth, producing a range of good value through to premium wines.
The other sub-region in Patagonia is La Pampa, where its vineyards are planted on an undulating plain at low altitudes compared to other areas. Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the main varieties produced here.
Salta, Catamarca, and Tucaman
Located in the north of Argentina, Salta and Catamarca are known in particular for a fresh, fruity, yet dry wine called Torrontés, a white grape variety that’s only grown in Argentina. There are three different types of Torrontés wines, with one in particular, Torrontés Riojano, earning numerous international awards. Torrontés Riojano is fast becoming an iconic premium Argentinian white wine.
Tucaman is also situated in north Argentina and is home to Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Bonarda and Tannat wine varieties.
Mendoza wine tours
Are you hoping to sample some of Argentina’s best wines during your travels to this beautiful country? With more than a thousand wineries and hundreds of Argentina wine tours to choose from, where should you start?
We recommend heading out to Mendoza in the first instance. After all, it’s one of the best wine regions in the world. Did you know you can visit a local vineyard in Mendoza to enjoy wine tasting and a delicious meal as part of our Amazing Argentina Escorted Tour? It’s an experience you definitely won’t want to miss.