The top 5 Argentinian wine regions, excluding Mendoza

Argentina's wine regions, another reason to visit South America!

It’s an indisputable fact that Mendoza rules the Argentine wine scene, writes Kevin Chandler. With 395,000-plus acres of planted vineyards, the region accounts for more than two-thirds of the country's wine production.

For any first-time visitor to the country, Mendoza is a must-visit. The well-established wineries, restaurants and resorts are more than worth your time, and the Malbec will make you want to never leave. But for adventurous travelers or second-time visitors there’s so much more to Argentina.

San Juan

Several hours drive North of Mendoza in the Andean foothills, San Juan, with its more than 116,000 acres of vineyards, is Argentina’s second-largest wine region. Hotter and drier than Mendoza, the region is famous for intense, resonant wines, which is probably one of the reasons its Syrah is gaining fame in recent years. The region also produces a fine Malbec, but that nearly goes without saying for any Argentine region.

La Rioja

La Rioja (no, not the Spanish La Rioja) is hot, dry and famous for white wines high in alcohol and low in acidity. The lack of rainfall – roughly 5 inches annually – makes for challenging growing conditions but a very distinctive terroir. The region is particularly well known for its Muscat and Torrontes Riojano, an Argentine specialty white grape.

Salta


Salta’s wine industry is, for good reason, quickly climbing the South American wine ladder, especially the subregion of Cafayate. Salta is famous for its high-altitude wines. Cafayate grapes are regularly grown at 5,600 plus feet, and there is even a 10,000 foot vineyard, which seems like a joke until you get dizzy from altitude sickness. With hot days and cool nights, the region does well with Torrontes grapes for white wines and Syrah for reds.

Catamarca

Like Salta, Catamarca is growing and evolving as a winemaking destination. The region’s striking mountain landscape is nearly entirely empty of people, and with only about a dozen bodegas in total, visiting Catamarca is like traveling to a wild western frontier. It’s a stunning place for off-the-beaten path wine tourism and a must for adventurous travelers, but as investment and new business moves in, expect some of the rustic feel to wear off.

Patagonia


Patagonia is certainly not the first name in Argentine wine, but it is very much a destination. The region’s pristine environment, particularly its amazingly pure water, complements the long growing season. Lately, the flat and cool Rio Negro valley is producing crisp, no frills Malbec. Winemaking in Patagonia has existed for less than a century, so the region has a lot of catching up to do, but the chance to visit the southernmost vineyard in the Americas is worth it.

(Source: SNOOTH)

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