If you were to enter the phrase “Argentina’s wine country” into the online search engine of your choosing, the first pages would undoubtedly be dominated with results about Mendoza. And while this result can most certainly be justified, (Mendoza accounts for roughly 80 percent of the country’s wine production) it is certainly not the whole story. In fact, the same Andes Mountains that have served to create such ideal growing conditions for vineyards throughout Mendoza stretch thousands of kilometers through the world’s 8th largest country.
From Salta in the north to Rio Negro in the south, the geography of Argentina includes numerous other regions and sub-regions that are not only capable but excel in producing many wine varietals from the centuries’ established Cabernet Sauvignon to the newly-popular Malbec. Initially, the country’s wine region can be divided into 3 basic geographical regions; the North, Cuyo, and Patagonia.
In the north, Salta and Catamarca produce (among others) Malbec, Syrah, Bonarda, and Torrontes and can boast having the highest altitude commercial vineyards in the world with some locations as high as 3000 meters or roughly 9800 feet. Located just north of Mendoza in the Cuyo region, San Juan is the country’s second-largest wine producing region and yields a globally known varietal of Syrah. And to the south in Patagonia, Neuquen and Rio Negro hold the southernmost vineyards worldwide. Rio Negro, specifically, enjoys prime conditions for the production of white wines such as Torrontes, Traminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
These regions and their varying topographical characteristics can create interesting scenarios such as finding a Malbec produced in the north having different characteristics from one of the same varietal produced further south. So while taking part in a wine tasting here in Buenos Aires or just making purchases to enjoy back home, don’t shy away from exploring the entire geography of Argentina’s “wine country”.