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Torula News

OpdotEd - Around the World of Wine by André Drobotoff

South America, Argentina - 13 March 00, vol. 1. no. 2


The Argentinean wine-growing production ranks fifth in the world. Annually, 1,500 millions liters of wine are produced, of which 300 millions liters are fine wines.
The internationally known wines from this country have for a long time registered slow consumption in the country. The Argentinean people  are in a position to drink the local production only recently, as the galloping inflation of the past period did not facilitate this economical activity. With the return of the stability in the eighties, a new period has begun.

The plantation of the Argentinean vineyard goes back to second half of the XVIth century, when Spanish conquistadors brought with them Iberian grape varieties (the local vine, the criolla is stemming  from this origin). The conquistadors were actively helped by the Franciscans and Jesuits  whose missions were at the base of the great viticulture of today. Now,  European grape varieties make up a large volume of vines;

Red grapes : Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah

White grapes : Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon, Sémillon..

Due to the arid climatic conditions, the development of irrigation systems has been vital to viticulture, practiced within immense Bodegas.
While the viticulture is relatively manual, because of a abundant manpower, the "vinification" has been considerably modernized. Red wines are a hot type and strengthened ; white wines are in net progress with less heaviness than formerly.
Mendoza wine-producing area is most important of Argentina. It produces 90%  fine wines likely to be exported. In this region, alone Lujan of Cuyo and San Rafael benefit from an appelation. This last situated 200 kilometers of the town of Mendoza is more favorable to the red wine; the best is  the       Aberdeen  Angus Cabernet from a wine grower Goyenechea. In Lujan de Cuyo, the altitude of 1000 meters and clayish soils will guarantee sufficiently fresh nocturnal temperatures for the white wine, as testified by some of the production from Leoncio Arizu. In 1901 Leoncio Arizu founded a family business producing premium wines under the name of Luigi Bosca), whose Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Riesling show a fresh acidity that distinguishes them clearly from their competitors whose products are often dull and flat. The valley of Tupungato produces white wines that are among best of Argentina. The wine grower Trapiche was established in 1883 and is the most successful premium wine brand in Argentina. It produces world quality wines. 
The other Argentinean wine-producing areas are:
- In the north  of Mendoza, in the provinces of San Juan, The Rioja, Catamarca and Salta produce the best white wine of the country. At an altitude of 1830 meters, its vineyards count among the highest and the most beautiful of the world. The indigenous grape variety Torrontes gives supple white wines that are very aromatic.They have already achieved international recognition.
- In the south of Mendoza, in the province of the Rio Negro brisk temperatures allow the production of white wines. The best producer of the region is Humberto Canale that elaborates a Sémillon of a delectable vivacity.

The most complete Argentinean wine web site  is  Vinos de Argentina that offers many headings (El Vino, Aromas, Caract.de las Variedades, El vino y la comida, Como degustar, Consejos para comprar, Guardar Vinos en Casas, El vino y la salud, Como elaborar vino, Glosario, Consultas y Dudas). The second one is Argentina Wines. It is less complete (Historia, Regiones, Cepages, Vinos, Cata, Bodegas, Noticias, Tienda) but has the merit to offer two language versions. The English contents of  Argentina Wines are extracted, in part, from the book "Wine Routes of Argentina" by Alan Young. Both are offering a free newsletter subscription.

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