Argentina

Definition - What does Argentina mean?

Argentina is a wine region in South America. It is the second largest country in South America, stretching from the southern border of Bolivia all the way to the tip of the continent to cover 1 million square miles (2.8 million square kilometers). As of 2015, Argentina is the fifth largest wine producer in the world, producing the traditional European grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, as well as Spanish and Italian varieties like Bonarda. Argentina has become popular for producing quality Malbec and Torrontés wines.

WineFrog explains Argentina

Argentina’s wine producing history reaches back to 1556, when father Juan Cedrón planted the first vineyard with cuttings from Chile’s Central Valley. These cuttings were the ancestors of the Criollo Chica variety, which became Argentina’s wine backbone for 300 years. Between 1569 and 1589, winemakers and settlers created the complex irrigation systems that brought water from the melting glaciers of the Andes to water their vineyards. These irrigation systems are used even today and are the reason many of the vines are able to survive.

While Argentina’s wine producing history had a rocky start - producers focused on quantity instead of quality - their reputation changed in the 1990s when winemakers decided to focus on increasing exports. In order to compete on the global market, they had to create higher quality wines. Argentina has gained a reputation for producing intense Malbecs with aromas of berries, plums and honey, and long, lingering flavors. Their white wine, Torrontés, is highly aromatic and bright.

There are several wine regions in Argentina. Mendoza is the most popular, producing 3/4s of the country’s wine. Other regions include San Juan, La Rioja, Catamarca, Jujuy, Salta and Patagonia. In 2015, Argentina’s wine regions spread across the foothills of the Andes and even up into the mountains themselves. The high altitude combined with the low latitude (Argentine vineyards are the closest to the equator than most of the European vineyards), create high solar radiation and high diurnal temperature variations. This means long, slow ripening periods that make wines with balanced sugars and acidity. Argentina’s location and altitude also means that vines are rarely, if ever, plagued by insects, fungi, molds or disease; this allows winemakers to avoid pesticides and produce truly organic wines.

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