Top Argentine Wine Regions
Mendoza is without a doubt the largest and best-known wine region in Argentina. A vast and extremely varied region that produces great wines to critical acclaim, Mendoza lies in the heart of Argentina’s wine country, home to over 1,200 wineries. The vast desert landscapes and altitudes of up to 5,000 feet combine to create a terroir that gives rise to aromatic, intensely flavored reds such as the show-stopping Malbec. Several of the best wine producers including Catena, and Terrazas de Los Andes (a subsidiary of Moet and Chandon) call Malbec’s higher vineyards home and specify the precise altitudes on their labels.
Mendoza produces almost two-thirds of all of the wine in Argentina and produces 85% of the country’s Malbec. Resting in the foothills of the Andes, the wine region in Mendoza stretches for over 350,000 acres, and thanks to the high altitudes, long hours of sunshine, and high diurnal temperature variation the grapes enjoy a long, slow ripening process, which leads to balanced sugars and acidity. Significant plantings in the region include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Bonarda, along with the recent additions of Cabernet Franc, and Tempranillo. Other grapes are quickly gaining esteem in the region and blends are touting even more regard than single origins wines.
Dr. Nicolas Catena’s stable of brands and names, now called Catena Zapata, is an obvious star in Mendoza along with other reliable producers such as Achaval-Ferrer, O Fournier, Vina Cobos, Poesia, Mendel, and Trapiche at the top of its range. Catena Zapata was founded in 1902 and helped to revolutionize Malbec in the region, and raise the profile on Argentinian wines worldwide. The pyramid-shaped winery and sprawling verdant vineyards here are set against the backdrop of mountains and vineyards, there is plenty to see and do at Catena Zapata.
Bodega Salentein is one of the oldest and largest wineries in the region that produces millions of bottles of wine each year. There are tours of the winery visiting the subterranean cellar which is located 26 feet below ground. The winery offers outstanding wines and delightful tastings.
The Salta Wine Region nestled in the far north of Argentina is characterized by its diverse landscapes featuring lush verdant rainforest and sprawling valleys. Salta is home to some of the most extreme, highest, and most spectacular vineyards in the country with locations such as the world-topping vineyard owned by Bodega Colome in Molinos which sits at a soaring 9,900 fee. Salta is situated in Argentina’s northwest region, it harbors perfect growing conditions to produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, and Chardonnay. The revered full-bodied Torrentes is the star of the region, much like a Champagne in France, it is only produced in Argentina.
Standing at almost 5,000 feet above sea level, Salta’s mountainous terrain and climate combine cool winds, arid grounds, and an abundance of sunlight. These factors lead to the Torrontes grape’s robust flavor, an aromatic, sweet, yet dry floral aroma with notes of rose, peach, and lemon. The viticultural area in Salta is mainly concentrated to Cafayate of the Cachaqui Valley, the region’s signature grape varieties of Torrontes and Malbec are the top performers here producing bright, intensely flavored wines. The many vineyards of the Salta region sit at lower latitudes and higher altitudes than anywhere else in the world. These two factors balance each other out and help to create an excellent grape growing environment with cold temperatures associated with the high altitudes that are mitigated by the high temperatures found at these latitudes. The mountains in the region create a rain shadow over the vineyards and also provide irrigation with a reliable supply of meltwater sent down from the snowy peaks.
Visit Bodega Domingo Molina, a family-owned winery that was established in the 1960s and is situated at the foot of the Andes. This is a must-visit for any wine aficionado when visiting the Salta region, it is one of the country’s oldest wineries and one of the highest vineyards in the world. Take a tour of the cellar, stroll through the immaculate grounds, sample one or more of the six lines of wine on offer while admiring the stunning views of the Calchaqui Valley and surrounding countryside. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle of Bodega Colome’s unique and flavorful wine.
The Cafayate district in the province of Salta is a must travel destination in the far north of Argentina boasting high-altitude vineyards. This spectacular wine region features some of the highest vineyards in the world including Donal Hees’s Bodega Colome which sits at 9,842 feet above sea level. The region’s local specialty is Torrontes, which yields flavorful, pungent, fruity, aromatic dry whites, the only white grape unique to the country. Cafayate, in particular, is quickly gaining international recognition for the high quality of the wines produced there.
Take some exclusive tours of Cafayate’s wineries, vineyards, and estates such as Grace Cafayate which is part of the La Estancia de Cafayate estate covering 1,359 sprawling acres filled with idyllic scenery. Guests can stay in the main hotel on-site featuring 20 residential villas, dine on delicious authentic Argentine cuisine at the on-site restaurant, and later frequent the wine bar and cigar lounge. The Museum of Vine and Wine is located along the Salta wine route, try culinary master classes, wine blending sessions, and so much more.
The region enjoys a dry, hot climate and is filled with incredible natural attractions such as the Ischigualasto Provincial Park in San Juan, or the Talampaya Canyon in La Rioja. The Calchaqui Valley combines the viticultural provinces of Catamarca, Tucuman, and Salta forming a spectacular region that produces great wines and is blessed with over 300 sunshine fille days a year.
The Uco Valley is a key wine-growing, sub-region of Mendoza where some of the country’s most famous wines are produced. The valley is flanked by magnificent mountains in almost every direction and dominated by miles of sprawling verdant vineyards. The valley is one of the most fertile regions of Mendoza, the perfect location for producing the famed Malbec of Argentina, along with other up-and-coming grapes and blends such as Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and Torrontes.
Although the valley is part of the Mendoza wine region, it can be recognized in its own right on several accounts. The distinct vine-growing region harbors a number of the country’s most highly reputed wineries, many of these fantastic locations feature biodynamic vineyards, award-winning architecture, and design, there are creative chefs on site to whip up delicious collaborations accompanied by the country’s best wines. The region is also home to several of the country’s top producers such as Bordeaux-based names Lurton, Dassault, Rothschild, and Rolland. Uco is dominating the country’s wine production with unique and versatile Malbec’s, Torrontes, Cabernet Sauvignons, and Merlots.
Uco Valley is filled with luxurious accommodations like the private villas at The Vines Resort and Spa which offers tours of the property’s system of boutique wineries and private vineyards. Casa de Uco Vineyard and Wine Resort is a modern establishment built in the style of plate tectonics emerging from the valley, surrounded by a system of ponds, where ducks and coy fish swim. There are 791 sprawling acres of vineyards at the estate which offers parcel tasting, with Chef Pablo Torres and a sommelier specialist that leads visitors through the verdant vineyards pairing each plot with a new dish.
The Uco Valley is roughly 45 miles long and 15 miles wide stretching from the Tupungato region in the north to the San Carolos region in the south. The Valley’s high elevation a the foot of the Andes Mountains can reach up to 3,600 feet. The dry continental climate brings little rain to the region, so the Tunuyan river is an important resource for vineyard irrigation. The soils throughout the valley are alluvial and fairly uniform with a clay and rock base and a stony, sandy, surface. These soils are free draining and are excellent for quality viticulture, they stress the vines and lead to decreased vigor and lower yields. They lead to producing wines with a higher concentration of flavor. Wine tourism in the Uco Valley has seen a massive increase in the past 20 years, it is fast becoming one of the region’s key industries. With breathtaking spectacular scenery and state-of-the-art winemaking facilities, it is portrayed as the Napa Valley of Argentina.
Neuquen is situated in the south of the country in the Patagonia region close to the Atlantic coast, the cooler temperatures here are well suited to created wines made from Pinot Noir. These Patagonia wine regions are the southernmost wineries in the Southern Hemisphere, with most of the wine regions situated in the northern half of the region, vineyards are slowly creeping further south. Grape growing in the Patagonia region is still very young, with most of the vineyards and wineries being less than 20 years old. Patagonia’s three main wine-producing regions are Neuquen, La Pampa, and Rio Negro.
Neuquen is located in the heart of Argentina with Mendoza to the north and Buenos Aires to the east, and the magnificent Andes mountains as its western border. The Andes mountains are on the western border and the Rio Negro wine region is to the south, this is a very young wine region with some of the first wineries in the region popping up in the early 2000s. Many of the vineyards here are clustered around the town of San Patricio del Chana on the Neuquen River, the production and wineries here are growing exponentially.
The Malbec grape is the main contender of the Neuquen wine region closely followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. All of the wines produced here feature intense aromas and great structural acidity, they are also incredibly inexpensive with a bottle of wine generally costing under $20. Some of the mighty wineries or Bodega’s as they are referred to in Argentina located in Neuquen include Bodega del Fin del Mundo, Familia Schroeder, Manos Negras, and Jelu Estate.
Cordoba is nestled in the heart of Argentina, famous for its verdant rolling hills, lush forests, quaint villages, and home to the smallest wine regions in the country. The wine region in Cordoba covers a small handful of acres and was first established in the 16th century, making it one of the oldest regions in South America. The Cordoba wine region packs a big punch producing sophisticated Malbecs, Pinot Noirs, and Chardonnays thanks to the healthy soil and high temperatures. The grapes grown here have a distinct and robust flavor and the majority of the wines are produced in Colonia Caroya, a tiny village not far from the province’s capital, the perfect destination for a day trip.
The wine region in Cordoba has a history dating back over 400 years, the famous University of Central Argentina is undergoing a renaissance of winemaking and the city is home to some spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites and crumbling Jesuit ruins. During the following centuries, European immigrants flocked to the region and maintained a consistent and growing production. In the late 1970s, the co-operative La Caroyense was one of the largest wineries in Argentina. Colon is the main wine region situated around Colonia Caroya, it was named after an estancia that was established by the Jesuits in 1616 boasting its own vineyards and wine production. The region is the largest wine region in Cordoba today and the most historical with vineyards planted here at an average of 500 m.s.s.l. There is a wide range of grape varieties planted here including red, white, and hybrid along with stunning wineries with notable ones such as Bodega la Caroyense, and Terra Camiare.
The spectacular natural landscapes and gorgeous rolling hills of Cordoba give way to stunning remote Estancias that offer a superior level of service and hospitality. Spend days relaxing and sampling gastronomic delicacies, sipping on scrumptious wines, horseback riding, watching the Gauchos tend to their cattle, are just a few of the unique experiences to enjoy. The traditions here mixed with the pure sophistication of the region allow visitors to absorb the country at its finest.
La Matilde is nestled in the spectacular Cordoba countryside with a rancho culture, plenty of wine, and agritourism activities aplenty! Bodega Noble San Javier is a small boutique winery focusing on biodynamic and organic red wine production, it is the place to try Malbec! Famiglia Furfaro is nestled in the mountains and surrounded by plains, waters, and beautiful clear skies, the perfect setting for sampling delicious wines.
The Patagonian wine region features three main wine-producing regions; Neuquen, La Pampa, and Rio Negro. The region produces less than 2% of Argentina’s total wine, these wines are rare, delicious, and very intriguing as they are produced in the southernmost part of the country and boast wineries set in the most extreme climates and latitude lines. The main grapes of the Patagonian region are Malbec, and Pinot Noir with Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet. There are some 3,600 hectares of vineyards in the south and the history of winemaking in the region is very young, most of the wineries and vineyards are less than 20 years old.
The land here features the world’s southernmost and newest vineyards with cool winds from the Atlantic ocean which favors European-style wines. Discover the flavors of Patagonia through delicious regional gastronomy including lamb, deer, wild boar, trout, and amazing Argentinean seafood accompanied by delicious full-flavored wines. Visiting the wineries and vineyards of the region is best done between September and March when the vineyards are full of activity and the climate is ideal for outdoor activities. The wine regions of Patagonia are around 3,024 - 5,039 feet above sea level with the total land under vine being less than 10,000 acres. The vines here only grow by the river which is formed by the melting snow from the Andes mountain range, and from irrigation. The soils here are sandy with varying size pebbles and stones mixed in, soil conditions are ideal as they provide the vines with drainage needed to produce quality wines. The extreme climate of the region with cold snowy winters and long, warm summers, as well as the diurnal shift and change in temperatures from day to night. These conditions attribute to the grape’s acidity and help them ripen slowing locking in aromas.