Featured Wine Region: Mendoza
Argentina is a beautiful South American country known for its gorgeous landscapes, fantastic food, and unbelievable wine. Until the 1990s, Argentina produced more wine than any other country outside of Europe but most of it was considered unexportable, so the country ramped up their efforts to improve quality. Now Argentina is the largest wine producer in all of South America. Within Argentina there are many regions that produce wine but the most important are Mendoza, San Juan, and La Rioja. Salta, Catamarca, Río Negro and more recently Southern Buenos Aires.
Mendoza is the largest and accounts for nearly two-thirds of the country’s entire wine production. Nestled in the foothills of the Andes, the vineyards are planted at some of the highest altitudes in the world, living in a continental climate with median temperatures that never reach extremes. Many studies are being done on the effects of increased sunlight sensitivity on the production of wine, which is why Mendoza is a popular place.
The rocky subsoil provides a solid ground full of sediment and sand for the grapes that holds them down and helps them grow. The semi-arid climate and decent amount of precipitation make it an excellent environment for red wines, hence the popularity of the Malbec.
There are three regions within Mendoza: Lujan de Cuyo, Valle de Uco, and Maipu. Lujan de Cuyo is the home of the world-famous Argentinian Malbec, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Torrontes. The Valle du Uco ( Uco Valley) is the newest wine-producing region of Argentina and is putting itself on the map with Malbec, Pinot Noir, and Merlot production. Maipu is smaller, with only about 20 wineries, but it is just as essential to the landscape of Mendoza wine country.