What do you need to know about Argentina, to know its wines?
Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world by surface area; a vast territory that spans an enormous range of geographies, climates and natural wonders that the world is only just beginning to discover. In the planisphere of wine, Argentina occupies a curious place: neither old nor new world, each one with its own part to play. Argentina offers a diversity of wines as wide as they are exciting.
Altitude, the secret. Argentina has a handful of vineyards next to the ocean, but has the bulk of its vineyards between 600 and 2000 metres above sea level. Along a 1500 km line of mountains several oases are developed in which the vines grow under widely varying conditions, all linked to a single factor: altitude. The altitude compensates for the latitude, so it is possible to make wines in Jujuy, on the Tropic of Capricorn, and in Sarmiento (Chubut) on the 45º parallel south latitude. The scenery changes and, naturally, the wines also change.
Desert and sun. Almost all of the vineyards are found in arid areas, in the shade of the Andes mountain range. As altitude defines part of the terroir and character of the wines, the desert, sun and extreme conditions define the other part. However, in recent years producers have extended the limits of Argentine wine to the south looking for cooler temperatures, and to the east, next to the Atlantic Ocean. Non-traditional wine regions are gaining relevance in the center and northeast of the country, contributing to showcase Argentina’s diversity.
Diversity. Argentina offers an unusual diversity of regions and wines, which the world is only now acknowledging. On the one hand, varieties and forms of cultivation; on the other, soils and climates. Despite being the most planted red, Malbec is not the only one on offer in Argentina. It is also possible to find a good number of other grapes, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Syrah, Tempranillo and Bonarda to Pinot Noir, and from Chardonnay to Sauvignon Blanc and Torrontés in whites. The interesting thing is that in each case, a multitude of varying terroirs stamps a different character profile on each variety.
Innovation. New technologies for the study of the soil and environmental factors that affect vines have produced a veritable Copernican Revolution in Argentine Wine. Local wineries are investing in research and exploration to find out what distinguishes one vineyard from another and produce exceptional wines. This represents an evolution in viticultural methods in Argentina, which is now producing some of the best wines in its history.
Sustainability. Convinced that it is the best way to produce world class wines and safeguard that production for future generations, more and more wineries are either changing their practices or simply reframing their existing methods with a focus on sustainable viticulture in three key areas: the environment, society, and the economy. Argentina is heading towards sustainable, diverse and inclusive viticulture.
With this background, the next time a bottle from Argentina is uncorked, besides the usual descriptors in the glass, there will also be a more distant and full horizon from a country that has so much to give and discover, locked in their bottles.
Embassy of Argentina Finland
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