Definition - What does Patagonia mean?
Patagonia is located in South America on the most southern tip of Argentina and covers a large area with a viticulture region that spans 200 miles. Patagonia has a dry, hot daytime climate and cold nighttime temperatures, with the vineyards surrounding the snowmelt filled rivers. The alternative climate and location create surprisingly high-quality wines including varietals like Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir (their most renowned varietal), Merlot and Syrah.
WineFrog explains Patagonia
Patagonia is divided into two main viticulture regions, Rio Negro, an older region that is located in the northern section and Neuguen, a newly established almost completely desert region that uses extensive irrigation practices to grow its vines. Patagonia is warmed by an eastern wind called “La Zonda” that helps counteract the low altitudes and cold climate. This wind system also makes a hardier vine and smaller berries.
While helpful in warming the temperatures and preventing disease, La Zonda can be harmful to new vine growth. The clusters found here have thick skins, a high levels of acids, sugars and tannins that contribute to a strong structured wine. The colder nighttime temperatures offset the warmer daytime temperatures to create a longer growing season, causing slower grape ripening which develops a rich, deep wine with some acidity. The region’s characteristics lend itself to creating mostly white wines but also impressive reds. Some wines can be distinguished by a “smoky” flavor that differ from the other northern surrounding Argentinian regions.