Argentina is the 5th largest producer of wine in the world. The country has been producing wine since the 1500s, but yet really didn’t enter the international scene until the 1990s. Years of military dictatorship and economic turmoil prevented any domestic or foreign investments in the region, curbing any development in production, infrastructure, and research. The early 2000s changed everything. The devaluation of the peso led to a need to increase exports. Foreign investment poured in with a single goal: ROI. Malbec, the most widely grown grape in the country, became mass produced. Cheap and often clunky, over-oaked Malbec flooded the market, branding the nation’s wine as a commodity. 20 years later, things have changed yet again… this time for the better. Here is why you should be drinking more Argentinian wine now.
A New Generation is Emerging
With investment came knowledge & expertise. 20 years later, a whole generation of new young ambitious wine growers has emerged. Continued economic stability in the region, as well as increased familiarity with its terroir, has allowed these growers to explore new varietals in lesser known places. Regions like Salta in the north and Patagonia in the south are gaining some serious reputation, allowing for grapes such as Pinot Noir, Torrontés, & Bonarda (to name a few) to flourish. Moreover, the dominant region of Mendoza is also going through its own renaissance, with growers beginning to use the country’s altitude to influence the taste of its wine with growers even blending grapes from both high and low-lying plains to create unique flavor profiles. Don’t knock Argentine wine until you’ve tried it… properly.
Altitude is Quality
The height of Argentina’s vineyards gives them a unique advantage for quality. Firstly, altitude inevitably means more sunlight. A higher concentration of sunlight for a longer period of time means the grapes develop more sugars (which means more booze… yes!). With that said, the nights are cooler than in the lowlands, meaning that the grapes don’t over ripen or ripen too quickly. Slow and steady wins the race. Water is also a super important. In lower regions, vines are dependent on rain, which can fluctuate in both quality and volatility. Rain storms can saturate the grapes or drown the vines; a lack of water does the opposite. The snowcapped Andes, however, provide a steady stream of run-off water that consistently nourishes the vines and ensures the grapes mature at a steady rate. And lastly, if I didn’t need to convince you any further, wines that are grown at altitude are far less likely to suffer from rot or disease, as bacteria faces harder survival rates at altitude. The combination of these factors gives us the perfect storm for quality juice…. so drink it confidently.
I hoped this helped. If you’re still not convinced (or are just curious… or even super pumped to learn more), we’d love for you to join us for an Argentinian Wine Pairing this Saturday (2/23) in collaboration with our friends Timber Pizza. Timber Pizza has been rated ‘Best Pizzeria’ in the US by Bon Appétit Magazine (2017), and we are partnering up with Argentine Head Chef, Dani Moreira. In honor of her Argentinian heritage, we’ll be tasting an array of Argentinian wine, with the goal of showcasing the evolving regions of the country & the varietals they nurture best. Chef Dani will then match these wines with a carefully curated array of empanadas, creating… a perfect pairing. So, join us for a night of good food, good friends, and good times over some epic wine. Tickets are available HERE.