Upcoming Tours Major Grapes: Malbec, Chardonnay
Welcome to Argentina
There are so many winemakers with Italian names in Argentina that one can be forgiven if you think that it’s an Italian colony. Foremost among them is Nicola Catena who has done for Argentina what Robert Mondavi has done for California. He has singlehandedly put Argentina on the wine map.
Keep in mind that the country is awash in a veritable sea of wine. Per capita consumption is among the highest in the world yet the vast majority of this wine is inexpensive plonk that is not exported.
The heart of the Argentine wine region is Mendoza which is a short 30 minute plane ride from Santiago, Chile. It is one of the most breathtaking wine areas in the world located against the backdrop of the Andes. And it’s also one of the driest: the drive from the airport to the center of Mendoza is through desert-like terrain. What saves this area is a unique system of canals that date from the Inca era and channel water from the snow covered Andes to the viticultural areas via a labyrinth of canals.
You name the grape and it’s cultivated in Argentina. But Argentina’s claim to fame is the Malbec grape. Argentine winemakers have taken a grape used for blending in Bordeaux and developed it into a fruit-driven succulent wine.
The proof of the success of Argentine wines is the number of foreign winemakers who have established wineries there. Argentina is a wonderful place to visit and currently a bargain. And you can couple a visit to the wine region with a side trip to Buenos Aires, one of the world’s most exciting cities.