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    Argentina Argentina Document Transcript

    • Argentina Argentina wine laws are not mentioned in Sales and Service, Sotheby’s or Atlas of Wine.
    • Jujuy Jujuy is the northernmost viticultural area of Argentina, and has some of the highest vineyards in the world. It is less commercially established, and a relatively small wine region; very little Jujuy wine reaches the international market. Sitting at 23 degrees of latitude, the extreme temperatures normally experienced at this proximity to the equator are moderated by the relatively high altitude of the region, which also raises the intensity and duration of sunlight available to Jujuy’s vineyards. Located near the borders of Chile and Bolivia, the administrative province of Jujuy sits almost entirely within the eastern half of the Andes mountain range. While not a prolific wine-producer, Jujuy is of note for being among the most northerly, and the highest, of the world's wine-producing regions. Sitting in the foothills of the Andes, which separate it from the desert-regions of northern Chile, Jujuy has only a small production, and little room into which to expand. The larger, more fertile Salta wine region surrounds Jujuy on its southern and eastern sides. The region's high altitude helps to temper the low latitude, keeping the temperatures within the limits for growing wine grapes. Torrontes is the more successful of Jujuy's varieties, with which the region is making a name for itself. Salta Sub-regions: Cafayate [Calchaquies] Valley, Molinos, El Arenal The vineyards in Salta, in the extreme north of Argentina, sit at lower latitudes and higher altitudes than almost any in the world. These two factors balance each other out, producing an excellent climate for quality viticulture. As with the regions of Catamarca (to the south) and Jujuy (to the west) Salta's vineyards are often located in mountainous terrains - some reaching altitudes of 3000m (9840ft) above sea level. Equally impressive is that some Salta vineyards sit as close to the equator as 24 degrees south, similar to the latitudes of Egypt, Mozambique, Alice Springs, and Baja California. Despite this, the region has a similar alluvial soil profile to Mendoza, 500 miles (800 km) to the south; sandy topsoil over a clay base. The region's mountainous landscape creates a rain shadow, free from cloud cover and precipitation, and irrigates the land below with melt water from the snowy peaks. This mesoclimate also benefits from a wide diurnal temperature variation, which allows grapes to develop phenolic ripeness while retaining good acidity. Summer daytime temperatures in Salta reach 100F (38C), and drop as low as 55F (12C) at night. Cafayate and Molinos are the key wine-growing areas of Salta; Cafayate has become recognized in the early years of the 21st century, in particular for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Torrontes wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, and Tannat are the grapes most prominent in Salta's red wines, while Chardonnay and Torrontes make the most respected of the region's white wines. Cafayate is the best known area of the Salta region in northern Argentina. It is not only famous for the high quality of its wines, but also for the spectacular scenery which surrounds it. This is largely due to the proximity of the Calchaqui valleys which run down towards Cafayate from the north, whose landscapes change rapidly and dramatically from desert to mountainous to sub-tropical forest. The town of Cafayate is surrounded to the north, south and east, by the vineyard sites which bear its name. Roughly half-way between Jujuy (to the north) and Catamarca (to the south), Cafayate sits 1,700m (5577ft) above sea level, and at 26 degrees latitude. Cafayate is one of the original homes of Argentine Torrontes, and is continuing its viticultural success with Chardonnay and various red wine varieties such as Tannat. Michel Rolland, a French winemaker more famous for his work in Bordeaux, has helped promote the potential of Cafayate as a wine-growing area suited to Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.
    • Molinos: In the Salta region of north-west Argentina, at over 2100m (6900ft) above sea-level, sits the town of Molinos. This altitude is on a par with the highest of France's ski slopes, and it is only due to the area's proximity to the equator (25 degrees south) that the climate is suitable for viticulture. It is in this area where the Colome winery has established some of the highest vineyards in the world, including the worlds highest, at a reported 3000m (9900 ft). Among Argentina's wine growers Altitude is something of a status symbol, and the owner (Donald Hess, of Napa Valley fame) of these world-topping vines specifically sought out the highest possible locations for these vineyards. Demonstrating very clearly the diversity of Argentina's wine regions, Molinos is located 930miles (1,500km) north of, and 2000m (6600ft) higher than most of Neuquen, the most southerly new addition to Argentina's national vineyard. The vineyards around Molinos are planted most notably with Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Argentina's iconic white grape: Torrontes. El Arenal: Donald Hess [Bodegas Colome] is attempting to produce quality wine at 9,892ft above sea level in this small area at the base of the Andes Mountains. Currently, at 8,520 ft above sea level, Raul Dávalos, owner of neighboring Tacuil winery has the highest producing vineyard in the world. (Wine Spectator) These two houses are continuously at war for the crown of ‘highest producing vineyard in the world’. (J. Robinson) *Some publications list El Arenal as a sub-region of Molinos Catamarca Sub-regions: Fiambala Valley, Tinogasta Valley Catamarca is a hot, dry wine region in the north of Argentina, in the foothills of the Andes which separate it from the Atacama region of northern Chile. The Fiambala and Tinogasta valleys are the main viticultural areas of Catamarca, both of which run north-south between protective hillsides. Catamarca has not long been associated with wines of export quality, and until the beginning of the 21st century, only table grapes and raisins were grown. As with so many Argentinian regions, however, quality and commercial focus is increasing in the early years of the 21st Century. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah are the first wine varieties to produce commercially promising wines from the region. Fiambala Valley is the main wine-growing area of the Catamarca region in the north of Argentina. The valley sits roughly 1500m (5000ft) above sea-level, at 27 degrees latitude - as close to the equator as central Baja California. The valley benefits from a protected mesoclimate, being sheltered to the east and west by steep hillsides. (© All rights reserved, Wine-Searcher) The 3000m (9000ft) peaks in the surrounding area cast a rain shadow over the Fiambala Valley, creating a certain dependency on the meltwater which flows down from the west. 70miles (100km) away to the north-west sits Ojos del Salado - a 6891 m (22,600ft) stratovolcano on the Argentina-Chile border. Ojos Del Salado is the second highest mountain in the western hemisphere, topped only by Mt. Aconcagua (near Mendoza) 400 miles (600km) to the south. Given the limited area suitable for viticulture, the Fiambala vineyards are all located within a single, concentrated area, running north-south along the valley.
    • La Rioja Sub-region: Famatina Valley La Rioja, not to be confused with the eponymous region in northern Spain, is an Argentine wine region, much smaller than the two heavyweight regions directly to the south (Mendoza and San Juan). Despite being the longest established of Argentina's wine regions, La Rioja now produces less than a tenth of the volume of wine produced in Mendoza. Being far hotter and drier than the more southerly regions (summer temperatures of 110F / 43C) are not uncommon), the wine-producing areas of La Rioja are strictly governed by access to water. The resulting pattern of vineyard distribution in La Rioja is rather scattered, with a single main production area in the Famatina Valley, which sits in the mesoclimate formed by the Sierra Velasco and the Sierra Famatina. The region's most successful products are white wines are made from the Moscatel de Alexandria, Torrontes white grapes, with Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Syrah making up the majority of the red wines produced. Famatina is a remote wine-producing valley in the La Rioja region of Argentina. Concentrated in a river valley in the foothills of the Argentinean Andes, the vineyards follow the course of the meltwater river closely, as it flows north to south towards the lower-lying lands in the east. The valley is at 28 degrees of latitude, and is surrounded on all sides by mountain peaks of between 1,000 and 3,000m (3,000 and 9,000 ft). This topography creates a rain shadow, making the valley's agriculture and viticulture highly dependent on irrigation from the local rivers. The wines from Famatina are gaining recognition in international markets, and are principally made from Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah and Merlot, Chardonnay, Moscatel de Alejandria, and Torrontes for the white wines. This region is best known for Torrontes Riojana, which is typically trained on pergolas and sold in bulk locally. (J. Robinson) San Juan Sub-regions: Pedernal Valley, Tulum [Ullum] Valley, Zonda Valley, Calingasta Valley, Jáchal Valley, Iglesia Valley, Fértil Valley (J. Robinson, winesofargentina.com.ar) San Juan is an important Argentinian wine-producing area. Originally a prolific producer of high-yielding pink grape varieties (e.g. Cereza) whose high sugar content made them ideal for blending, San Juan is now producing wines of increasing quality, using the traditional European grape varieties. San Juan is Argentina's second largest wine producing region, in terms of production, and, like Mendoza just to the south, its viticulture is largely dependent on the region's river system. At the mercy of a very dry continental climate, many San Juan vineyards are dependent on the rivers of meltwater which flow down from the peaks of the Andes. What little precipitation the region does get falls mainly during storms, which are common during the summer months. The most important area of production within San Juan is the Tulum Valley, which is based around the San Juan River. A relatively underdeveloped area, about half of the San Juan province's agricultural area is devoted to viticulture. Like other Argentine wine regions, San Juan is both helped and hindered by the 'Zonda', a hot, dry wind which develops in the rain shadow of the Andes mountain range to the west. The wind is such a feature of the region that one of the three sub-regions - the Zonda Valley is named after it. The region is predominantly semi-desert, and irrigated by the San Juan and Jachal rivers. As in Mendoza, San Juan's vineyards are located at relatively high average altitude, the lowest at around 600 meters (4000 ft) and the highest at 1200 meters (4000 ft) above sea level. The region is home to Bonarda, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Syrah for red wines, and Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Torrontés and Viognier for white wines. San Juan also produces a large quantity of Criolla and Cereza grapes, which generally used to make cheaper, slightly
    • sweet wines. The region also produces sherry style-wines and provides most of the base for Argentina's brandy and vermouth. Pedernal is a wine-growing sub-region in the San Juan, Argentina. It is located in the south of the region, only 60 miles (100km) north of Mendoza city, and roughly the same distance away from the mountainous Chilean border to the west. Pedernal Valley: Sitting at a latitude of 31 degrees south, viticulture is possible in the Pedernal Valley only because of the local topography. Landscapes at this latitude are most often desert or semi-desert, and prohibitively hot for viticulture. (Copyright material, Wine-Searcher) The average altitude of 1000m (3300ft) at which Pedernal's vineyards sit, however, moderates the local temperatures, and promotes healthy grape development by ensuring greater intensity, and daily duration, of sunlight. The Graffigna winery holds a significant presence in the Pedernal Valley, being one of the first to exploit its mesoclimate. Chardonnay, Malbec, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon dominate the plantings in Pedernal. Tulum Valley is a wine-growing sub-region of San Juan, Argentina. It is located to the east of the region, and surrounds the town of San Juan from which the region derives its name. The city and its surrounding vineyards sit in the Tulum Valley. To the west of San Juan city, just outside the city limits, is the "Quebrada de Ullum" - a large dam on the San Juan River. Being a very dry region, the water provided by this dam is of vital importance to the city below, and to the region's agriculture. Sitting at a latitude of 31 degrees south, viticulture is possible in the Tulum Valley only because of the local topography, and the presence of water from the San Juan river, as explained above. Most regions at this latitude are desert or semi-desert (northern Egypt also lies at 31 degrees from the equator), and prohibitively hot. The average altitude of 650m (2200ft) at which Tulum's vineyards sit, however, moderates the temperatures, and promotes healthy grape development by ensuring greater intensity, and daily duration, of sunlight. Chardonnay and Torrontes produce some very good white wines in Tulum, and Syrah from this area is gaining recognition for its strong varietal expression. In the west of the San Juan wine region, the Zonda Valley derives its name from the fohn wind which is characteristic of the area. While not a prolific wine-producing area - most of its grapes until very recently were used in wine blends or being sold as table grapes - the Zonda Valley is developing as a quality wine-producing area. La Zonda, a 'fohn' wind created by the country's mountainous topography, brings warm, dry air sweeping down from the hillsides, creating both dangers and benefits to the region. While it lessens the risk of vine disease, and brings warmth to high-altitude zones, the damage done by the 25mph (40kph) Fohn winds can be substantial. Fohn winds affect viticulture in many regions across the world, from Switzerland to Australia. Malbec and Syrah are the champion grapes of the Zonda Valley. Mendoza (12) Sub-regions: Agrelo, Barrancas, Las Computuertas, Lujan de Cuyo, Lunlunta, Maipu, Pedriel, San Martin, San Rafael, Uco Valley, Ugarteche, Vistalba Mendoza is by far the largest of all Argentina's wine regions, producing the significant majority of Argentina's wine output. In the rain shadow of the Andes Mountains to the west, Mendoza benefits from a dry climate, and high average temperatures. Irrigation is facilitated by the various rivers which cross the region, including the Mendoza River itself, which runs down from the mountains. Warm, dry harvest periods mean that winemakers are able to pick their grapes according to ripeness, rather than this being dictated by
    • weather patterns. As with other new world countries, this leads to a reduction in vintage variation, and consistent quality from year to year. It also affords Mendoza's winemakers the luxury of increased control over the style of wines they produce - a factor which has, no doubt, contributed to the international reputation of the region's wines. Mendoza has many high-altitude vineyards, with an average altitude of around 900m (3000 feet) above sea level. The soil types vary across the region, but the majority of vines are planted on alluvial soils (sand over clay), reflecting the dependency on local rivers for irrigation. Being such a prolific wine producing area, Mendoza already has multiple sub-regions, several of particular interest, which will soon become recognized in their own right. In 1993, one of these, Lujan de Cuyo, became Argentina's first officially acknowledged controlled appellation. A large number of varieties grow successfully in Mendoza, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah and Tempranillo for red wines, and Chardonnay, Semillon, Torrontes and Viognier for white wines. Agrelo is a small sub-region of Mendoza, Argentina, based around the eponymous township, 20 miles (30km) to the south of Mendoza city, and a stone's throw south of the prestigious Lujan de Cuyo appellation. The average altitude of Agrelo vineyards is around 1000m (3300ft) above sea level. The alluvial soil types in the area are in keeping with its position at the foot of the Andes, where the Mendoza River winds its way down into the lower-lying land to the east. Barrancas is a is a small sub-region of Mendoza, Argentina, based around the township of the same name, 20 miles (30km) to the east of Mendoza city. The average altitude of Barrancas vineyards is around 750m (2500ft) above sea level, and the area sits at a latitude of 33 degrees south. The alluvial soil types in the area are in keeping with its location 40 miles (65km) east of the Andean peaks, which are its main source of water. Las Compuertas is a small wine-producing sub-region of Mendoza, Argentina, situated right at the edge of the Andean foothills. Las Compuertas' vineyards are more established than its new-found reputation - there is 80 year-old Malbec vines growing here, but it is only in the early part of the twenty-first century that wines from this area are being exported and recognized. Las Compuertas could be considered a gateway of sorts, to the Mendoza region, as 15 km to the west, and 400m (1312ft) above it, is the lake of Potrerillos. The lake is man-made and formed by the dam which gives the area its name - Las Compuertas means 'The Floodgates'. The flow of the Meltwater Rivers Blanco and Mendoza is of vital importance to viticulture in the area, as they descend from the upper Andes. (This page is copyrighted, Wine-Searcher) Las Compuertas sits at an altitude of around 1000m (3300ft), at a latitude of 33 degrees south. Just to the south of Mendoza city, across the River Mendoza, lies Lujan de Cuyo, a village now entirely surrounded by vineyards and wineries. Being situated so close to the river, the majority of these vineyards are based on alluvial soil types; sandy, stony surfaces based on clay substrata. A significant benefit of being placed so close to glacial river is the lower salinity, and the lack of the impurities often found in other river types. Lujan De Cuyo became Argentina's first official appellation (1993), the result of which has been a steady increase in both the quantity and quality of wines produced there. The region had had its own DOC status for four years previous to this recognition by the OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine). Lunlunta is a small sub-region of Mendoza, Argentina. Located half-way between the more prestigious Lujan de Cuyo and Maipu districts, much of the wine produced in Lunlunta is blended with that from neighboring areas. Lunlunta's proximity to the Mendoza river means that the soil types are alluvial; sandy topsoil over mineral-rich clay. The vineyards sit at an altitude of 900m (2900ft) above sea level at a latitude of 33 degrees south.
    • Maipu is a wine-growing sub-region of Mendoza, Argentina, situated just to the south-east of Mendoza city, at 800m above sea-level, and a latitude of 32 degrees south. The landscape around Maipu is dominated by vineyards, which grown on alluvial soils of sandy over clay. The Mendoza River, ever important to viticulture in the area, flows just 10km away to the south. Perdriel is a small sub-region in the Mendoza wine region of Argentina. The vineyards surround a small town by the same name, halfway between the Lujan de Cuyo appellation to the north, and the Agrelo sub-district to the south. Perdriel's vineyards sit at an altitude of around 900m (3000ft) above sea level, at a latitude of 33 degrees south. The Mendoza River lies just to the south of Perdriel, and is as important to the viticulture here as it is to most of the Mendoza region. The rain shadow cast by the Andes mountain range to the west makes for very low rainfall across the region, so the meltwater flowing down from the Andean peaks is a vital resource. San Martin is a sub-region in the Mendoza wine region of Argentina. It is located 25miles (40km) to the east of Mendoza city, and just to the north of the Tunuyan River. San Martin, a town of around 70,000 inhabitants is named after Jose de San Martin - an Argentine general and freedom fighter. Viticulture is an important industry for the town and vineyards stretch for many miles around it. Until recently San Martin has been more focused on the production of Criolla Grande and Cereza, but is now moving towards the international grape varieties, following the success of the Mendoza wine export industry as a whole. San Rafael is a wine-producing sub-region of Mendoza, Argentina, located 125 miles (200km) to the south of Mendoza city. Located slightly further away from the foothills of the Andes mountain range, towards the lower-lying lands of the Pampas, San Rafael sits at an altitude of around 600m (1970ft). Historically San Rafael has been a centre of large-scale wine production, and has not widely followed the trend towards international wine styles and export quality, so successfully pursued by its neighbors to the north. *Uco Valley sub-regions: La Consulta, San Carlos, Tunuyan, Tupungato, Vista Flores *B. Julyan actually maps out Uco Valley as Tupungato The Uco Valley is a key wine-growing region of Argentina. It is considered part of the Mendoza region, but can be recognized in its own right on several counts. Not only is the vine-growing area quite distinct and separated from the vineyards surrounding Mendoza city, but the Uco Valley is also home to several of Argentina's top producers. Attracted by the excellent climate and soil, newcomers with historic Bordeaux-based names such as Lurton, Dassault, Rothschild and Rolland have already given Uco Valley a firm placement on the international wine map. The vineyards of Vista Flores have produced some particularly successful wines from international names. Among Uco's specific merits are its higher-altitude location at the foot of the Andes mountains - the valley's La Consulta and Tunuyan sub-regions sit at altitudes of 850m (2800ft) and 1100m (3600ft) respectively. The area's elevated vineyard sites benefit from high daytime temperatures (the region is located at 33 degrees latitude) and cool night time temperatures, which allows the grapes to produce balanced sugars and acidity while achieving phenolic ripeness. Some of Mendoza's finest white wines come from Uco Valley vineyards, as the relatively cooler climate allows the slower ripening period required for complex white wines. From the Tupungato region in the north, to San Carlos in the south, the Uco Valley is roughly 45 miles (70km) long, and an average of 15 miles (22km) wide. The valley follows the northerly course of the Tunuyan River, as it flows down from its source high up in the Andean peaks. This is of great importance to the region's viticulture - the dry continental climate brings little rain, so irrigation techniques are widely used. The town of Tunuyan, whose population is around 45,000, is at the heart of the region, on the western banks of the eponymous river.
    • Uco's vineyards produce high-quality wines from Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Torrontes. La Consulta is a small wine-growing sub-region in the southern Uco Valley of Mendoza, Argentina, which sits in the shadow of the 5830m (19,100ft) volcano, San Jose. The Tunuyan River flows through the middle of La Consulta's wine-growing area, bringing meltwater directly from the peaks of the Andes, and providing the local viticulturalists with a resource to combat the otherwise dry, hot climate. Vineyards surround the small town of La Consulta on all sides, with a heavy concentration to the west, approaching the slopes of the lower Andes Mountains. The town itself sits at just over 1000m (3300ft), but just 18 miles (30km) to the west, the slopes have risen to peaks of over 4000m (13,300ft). This altitude benefits the wines produced in La Consulta's vineyards by increasing the daily duration and quality of sunlight, improving the quality of the air and water found there, and by moderating the high temperatures associated with areas of low latitude. Due to the proximity of the Tunuyan River the terrain in the area is largely alluvial - a clay and rock base with a stony, sandy surface - ideal for viticulture as it allows for good drainage, and forces the vines to grow deep, strong roots. The vineyards around La Consulta are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Torrontes. San Carlos is a wine-growing sub-region of the Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina. It is located in the southern eastern edge of the Uco Valley, and centered around the small town of San Carlos. To the east of San Carlos is a wide area of dry, infertile land. To the west, however, in the rain shadow of the Andes is a corridor of vineyards 15 miles (25km) wide. The terrain is largely alluvial - a clay and rock base with a stony, sandy surface - ideal for viticulture. Being close to the Andean foothills, at an altitude of 1000m (3300ft), San Carlos's wines benefit from increased sunlight, high air and water quality, and moderate temperatures The neighboring 'La Consulta' wine sub-region lies only 6 miles (10km) to the west of San Carlos town, so the distinctions between these regions are sometimes very fine-grained. Administratively speaking, La Consulta is actually an area within San Carlos, but they are independently distinguished in viticultural definitions. Administratively speaking, La Consulta is part of the larger San Carlos district, but the areas are independently recognized in viticultural definitions. Tunuyan is a wine-growing sub-region of the Uco Valley, in Mendoza, Argentina. The area is named after the town of Tunuyan, which is itself named after the river which flows through it, carrying meltwater from the Andes north and east towards Mendoza city. To the east of Tunuyan is a wide area of dry, infertile land, but to the west, in the shadow of the Andes is a corridor of vineyards 20 miles (30km) wide. The terrain is largely alluvial - a clay and rock base with a stony, sandy surface - ideal for viticulture. Bodegas Salentein have a significant presence in the area, making wines from a large number of the vineyards there. Tupungato is a wine-producing sub-region of the Uco Valley region in Mendoza, Argentina. At the northern end of the Uco Valley, Tupungato is located at a latitude of 33 degrees south, at an altitude of 1100m (3300ft). The altitude brings clarity of light, water and air, and moderates the high temperatures associated with lower latitudes. In the local native language (Huarpe), the region's name means 'Star Viewpoint'; it is named after the 6570m (21,555ft) Mt. Tupungato volcano which dominates the western skyline. The vineyards of Tupungato surround the town of the same name in all directions. They are irrigated with meltwater from the Andean peaks as they flow to the lower-lying land in the east - a vital compensation for the rain shadow cast by the mountains.
    • Vista Flores is a wine-growing area in the Uco Valley of Mendoza, Argentina. It is located in the west of the valley, towards the steep slopes of the Andean foothills, at an altitude of 1000m (3300ft). This altitude benefits the wines produced there by increasing the daily duration and quality of sunlight, by improving the quality of the air and water found there, and by moderating the high temperatures associated with areas of low latitude. The Tunuyan River flows just to the south of Vista Flores, on its way north to Mendoza, providing the vineyards with clear Andean meltwater for the irrigation so essential in the dry continental climate. Among the sub-districts in the Uco Valley, Vista Flores has attracted the most attention from pioneering international winemakers. Historic Bordeaux-based names such as Lurton (Gran Lurton), Dassault and Rothschild (Flechas de Los Andes) and Rolland (Clos de Los Siete) have wineries and vineyards here. Ugarteche is a small wine-growing sub-region of Mendoza, Argentina. It is essentially a small village, 23 miles (37km) to the south of Mendoza city, surrounded by vineyards in every direction. The Doña Paula winery is a major presence in Ugarteche, where the company's 429 hectare 'El Alto' vineyards are based. Ugarteche's vineyards sit at around 900m (3000ft) above sea level, at a latitude of 33 degrees south. Locations at low latitudes like this are generally too hot for grapes to flourish, but high altitude moderates temperature, creating a balanced climate. An average annual rainfall of only 200mm falls on the alluvial clay and stone soils in Ugarteche, which are successfully planted with Malbec, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay. The area has long been a wine-growing district, although in the past it was more commonly planted with grapes intended for mass-produced wines and grape juice (Criolla Grande and Cereza). Vistalba is a small wine-producing sub-region in the west of Mendoza, Argentina. Being to the west of Mendoza city, the terrain is slightly more elevated than in those wine-growing areas to the east, sitting at an altitude of over 1000m (3300ft). As with much of the Mendoza region, the soil types in Vistalba are alluvial, with sandy topsoil over a stone and clay-dominated base. This composition is excellent for quality-driven viticulture, allowing for excellent drainage. The high diurnal temperature variation is also a critical factor in the growing of fine Malbec grapes in Vistalba. Neuquén Sub-region: San Patricio del Chañar Neuquén is a very young wine-producing region in southern Argentina. It is only since the turn of the 21st century that wine production has been of commercial scale there, but in its inaugural decade the region showed significant growth. Mendoza, just to the north, is the country's most prolific region by far, and has spurred on the efforts of the 'Neuquén' wine producers. Like the other Patagonian region, Rio Negro, the comparatively cool climate in Neuquén makes it stand out among Argentine wine regions, whose style generally reflects the warmer, drier climates of the north. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Pinot Noir grow successfully in Neuquén, accompanied by white varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The region's wineries are concentrated in the east, away from the slopes of the Andes mountain range to the west, and close to the western edges of the Rio Negro region. The area known as San Patricio del Chañar, at 40° South latitude, is where most of Neuquén´s wineries are concentrated. Altitudes in this area vary from medium to low, and the soil conditions are typically excellent. Strong winds pose a major challenge to vineyards in this area, the only 21st Century wine region on the planet... Moreover, with almost 3700 acre planted over the last six years, four state-of-the art wineries in operation, and three additional ones in the pipeline for the near future, Neuquén has become the largest-growing viticultural center in the Argentine Republic. (winesofargentina.com.ar)
    • Rio Negro Rio Negro is the most southerly of Argentina's wine regions, at a latitude of 39 degrees south - similar to the southern vineyards of Spain. Rio Negro has a cooler climate than almost any Spanish wine region however, with average annual temperatures of 55F (14C). This is closer to the average annual temperatures of the northern Rhone valley in France. The climate of the Rio Negro Valley makes it suitable for growing white grapes such as Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, but the region also produces red varieties such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, and the ubiquitous Argentine icon variety, Malbec. There is also an increasing production of sparkling wine being produced in the region. *Biggest viticultural threat: summer hail, and the Zonda, a fierce hot and dry wind that comes out of the northeast (J. Robinson) *Sotheby’s claims that Arentina’s fine wine production is hurt most by excessive yields *Argentina contains the largest collection of the highest vineyards in the world (Sotheby’s) Works Cited: Winesofargentina.com.ar Wine-searcher.com Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia Sales and Service for the Wine Professional World Atlas of Wine