Just the small matter of a mountain range stands between Santiago in Chile and the wine region of Mendoza which is arguably Argentina’s most important wine growing province which accounts for over 70% of Argentina’s production. The climate is continental and Mount Aconcagua within the Andes dominates the skyline to the west contributing to inclement weather and huge seasonal variations. Water supply is therefore not a concern in this region with four mountain rivers fed by Andean glaciers providing all of the natural irrigation the region could wish for.
Notable departments of Mendoza include Maipú, Luján, San Martín and San Rafael and the sub-region of Luján de Cuyo created the first controlled appellation in 1993. The pink-skinned grape Criolla Grande along with Cereza accounts for about a quarter of all Mendoza’s plantings and red wine grape production for just over half, with Malbec the most popular, but Tempranillo also thrives here along with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Production of Chardonnay is increasing especially in high altitude areas such as Tupungato in the Uco Valley, where wineries such as Domaine Bousquet and Finca Sophenia are producing premium wine on their breathtakingly beautiful oenotouristic sites.
Image: Los Toneles vineyards, Mendoza, Argentina; © Bodega Los Toneles.