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An Introduction to Argentine Wines

Updated on December 12, 2012

ARGENTINE WINE

Vineyards with the Andes Mountains in the Background
Vineyards with the Andes Mountains in the Background

Argentine Vinyards and Grapes

The Andes Mountains in the Background.
The Andes Mountains in the Background.
Pinot Noir Grape Plantings
Pinot Noir Grape Plantings
Malbec Grapes
Malbec Grapes
Malbec Wine and a Steak
Malbec Wine and a Steak
Torrontes Riojano Grapes
Torrontes Riojano Grapes

An Introduction to Argentine Wines

Cast your vote for Argentine Wines

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An Introduction to Argentine Wine

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When I began drinking wine in the 1960s, the only wines being shipped to the United States from South America, came from Chile. As I recall, they were simple wines labelled mostly as Burgundy or Pinot Noir.

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Today you see just as many wines from Argentina and they are low priced and of much better quality than in the past. Here are ten things that you should know about the wines of Argentina.

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1. Argentina is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world (4.60% of the world’s production in 2010). Argentina is fifth in the world in wine production behind France, Italy, Spain, and the United States.

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2. Argentina is the seventh largest importer of wine into the United States behind Italy, France, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and Chile.

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3. The per capita consumption of wine in Argentina is 23.7 liters per year, which is slightly more than in the UK (20.7 liters) and more than twice as much as in the United States (9.4 liters).

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4. Argentina produces approximately 68 percent red wine and 32 percent white wine.

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5. There are seven wine regions in Argentina but two of them, Mendoza and San Juan, produce more than 90 percent of all Argentine wine.

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6. The Mendoza wine region alone produces more than 69 percent of all of the wine produced in Argentina. The wine vineyard acreage in that single region is slightly less than half of all of the vineyard acreage planted in the United States and more than all of the wine acreage in Australia and New Zealand combined.

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7. Argentine wines are labeled similar to California wines with the grape variety listed first and then the region in which the grapes were grown. However, the wine regulations are confusing and the only strict rule that I found was that if the grape variety is listed on the label, than the wine must contain at least 80 percent of that grape variety.

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8. Perhaps the best known Argentine red wine grape is the Malbec, followed by the Bonarda, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The Malbec is one of the grape varieties which can be used in Bordeaux wines but seldom is any more. The Bonarda is related to the Charbono grape and makes rather ordinary wines.

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9. The most widely planted white wine grapes are the Pedro Gimenez, Torrontes Riojano, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Ugni Blanc. Pedro Gimenez grapes are used to make fortified wines. Torrontes Riojano grapes produce aromatic wines reminiscent of Muscat or Gewurtztramminer. Chenin Blanc is the grape of the French Loire. Ugni Blanc is the grape used to make Cognac in France but it probably came to Argentina with immigrants from Italy where it is known as the Trebbiano grape.

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10. Argentine wine vintage ratings are only available for the six-year period from 2004 to 2009, but they have been uniformly very good during that time period.

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Wines of Argentina

Argentine Wine Primer

ARGENTINE WINE REGIONS

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There are seven wine regions in Argentina with twenty sub-regions. However, more than 90 percent of all Argentine wine is grown in only two regions, Mendoza and San Juan. In fact, the region of Mendoza by itself mas more wine acreage planted than all of Australia and New Zealand combined.

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ARGENTINE WINE REGIONS

Buenos Aries Montage

Buenos Aries
Buenos Aries

DIRECTIONS FROM BUENOS ARIES TO THE MENDOZA WINE REGION

A
Buenos Aries, Argentina:
Buenos Aires, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina

get directions

B
Mendoza, Argentina:
Mendoza, Mendoza Province, Argentina

get directions

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