Argentine wine


Argentine wine

Argentine wine, as with some aspects of Argentine cuisine, has its roots in Spain. During the Spanish colonization of the Americas, Juan Cedrón (or Cidrón) brought the first vine cuttings to Santiago del Estero in 1557, and the cultivation of the grape and wine production stretched first to neighbouring regions, and then to other parts of the country.

Argentine winemakers have traditionally been more interested in quantity than quality and the country consumes 90% of the wine it produces (45 litres a year per capita according to 2006 figures). However, the desire to increase exports fueled significant advances in quality. Argentine wines started being exported during the 1990s, and are currently growing in popularity. The devaluation of the Argentine peso in 2002, following the economic collapse, further fueled the industry as production costs decreased and tourism significantly increased, giving way to a whole new concept of wine tourism in Argentina. The past years have seen the birth of numerous tourist-friendly wineries with free tours and tastings. Some wineries even provide accommodations (such as is the case of Salentein or Tapiz) for tourists interested in staying in boutique hotels specifically oriented towards wine-tourism. The Mendoza Province is now one of Argentina's top tourist destinations and the one which has grown the most in the past years.

Argentina is the largest wine producer in South America and the 5th largest in the world, with over 1,200 million liters (2003), and the 13th largest exporter in the world (431 million USD in 2005). Argentina probably produces the best Malbec. Ironically, in the 1980s, Argentina almost gave up on the grape through government vine pull schemes.

Due to the high altitude and low humidity of the main wine producing regions, Argentine vineyards rarely face the problems of insects, fungi, moulds and other diseases that affect grapes in other countries. This permits cultivating with little or no pesticides, allowing even organic wines to be easily produced.

Regions

The most important wine regions of the country are located in the provinces of Mendoza and San Juan (Cuyo region), and La Rioja. Salta, Catamarca, Río Negro and more recently Southern Buenos Aires are also wine producing regions. The Mendoza Province produces more than 60% of the Argentine wine and is the source of an even higher percentage of the total exports (84% by value during the first trimester of 2006).
*Mendoza - Valle Central, Mendoza area, Valle de Uco, San Rafael area
*San Juan - Valle de Tulum, Valle de Ullum
*Salta - Valles Calchaquíes
*La Rioja - Valle de Famatina
*Catamarca - Valle de Tinogasta
*Río Negro - Alto Valle
*Jujuy - San Salvador de Jujuy (the northernmost wine producing province, which has produced wines at some of the highest recorded altitudes)
*Neuquén - San Patricio del Chañar (developing wine region in the north of the Patagonian province)
*Córdoba - Caroya
*Buenos Aires - Southern Buenos Aires wine region

Grapes

There are many different varieties of grapes cultivated in Argentina, reflecting her many immigrant groups. The French brought Auxerrois, which became known as Malbec, which makes most of Argentina's best known wines. The Italians brought vines that they called Bonarda, although Argentine Bonarda appears to be the Corbeau of Savoie, also known as Charbono in California, which may be related to Dolcetto. It has nothing in common with the light fruity wines made from Bonarda Piemontese in Piedmont.

Torrontés is another typically Argentine grape and is mostly found in the provinces of La Rioja, San Juan, and Salta. It is a member of the Malvasia group that makes aromatic white wines. It has recently been grown in Spain. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and other international favourites are becoming more widely planted, but some varieties are cultivated characteristically in certain areas.

Red

*Malbec - Mendoza (20,000 hectares)
*Bonarda
*Cabernet Sauvignon
*Sangiovese - Mendoza
*Syrah - San Juan
*Tempranillo - Mendoza
*Merlot - Río Negro
*Pinot Noir - Río Negro

White

*Chardonnay - Mendoza
*Torrontés - Salta, La Rioja, Mendoza and San Juan
*Sauvignon Blanc
*Riesling - San Juan and La Rioja
*Chenin Blanc - Mendoza
*Viognier - Mendoza and San Juan
*Sémillon - Mendoza and Río Negro

ee also

* Globalization of wine
* Foreign trade of Argentina

References

* Zraly, Kevin. "Windows of the World Complete Wine Course". NY: Sterling, 2005.
* "La Nación", 16 May 2006. [http://www.lanacion.com.ar/805751 "Siguen creciendo las exportaciones de vinos y mostos."]

External links

* [http://www.vino.com/country/argentina/ Argentine wine]
* [http://www.allaboutar.com/ar_wine_intro.htm Argentine wine history]
* [http://www.embargentina.or.jp/guia/vinos4.html Principal vine varieties in Argentina]
* [http://www.inta.gov.ar/info/documentos/planvit.pdf "Plan Estratégico Vitivinícola"] (PEVI)
* [http://www.argentinaturistica.com/vinostur.htm Turismo enológico]


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