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Mendoza wine

The Mendoza Province is one of Argentina's most important wine regions, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the country's entire wine production. Located in the eastern foothills of the Andes, in the shadow of Mount Aconcagua, vineyards are planted at the some of the highest altitudes in the world with the average site located 1,9703,610 feet above sea level. The principal wine producing areas fall into two main departments-Maipu and Lujan which includes Argentina's first delineated appellation established in 1993 in Lujan de Cuyo. The pink-skinned grapes of Criolla Grande and Cereza account for more than a quarter of all plantings but Malbec is the regions most important planting followed closely by Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Chardonnay. J. Robinson (ed.) "The Oxford Companion to Wine", third edition, pp. 2933, Oxford University Press, 2006 ISBN 0198609906 Mendoza is considered the heart of the winemaking industry in Argentina with the vast majority of large wineries located in the provincial capital of Mendoza. A. Domine (ed.) Wine, pp. 840844, Ullmann Publishing, 2008 ISBN 9783833146114 J. Jimena " Sipping and celebrating in Mendoza" Globe and Mail, Jan 17th 2004

Climate and geography

Located in the far western expanse of the country, the Mendoza wine region is flanked by the long chain of the Andes Mountain which separates it from the many wine centers of Chile with the capital of Santiago only a 50-minute airplane trip from the capital of Mendoza. Unlike the nearby maritime influenced wine regions of Chile, Mendoza has a continental climate and semi-arid desert conditions. The region experiences 4 distinct seasons with no extremes in temperatures that provides a relatively uneventful annual growth cycle for grapevines--especially winter dormancy. Rainfall in the region averages around 8 inches (200 millimeters) a year, making irrigation a necessity. Spring time frost is a rare occurrence with the main viticultural concern being summertime hail known locally as La Piedra.

The soil of the Mendoza wine region is primarily alluvial composed of loose sand over clay. Mountain rivers, including the Desaguadero, Mendoza, Tunuyan, Diamante and the Atuel Rivers, provide ample water supplies from melted glaciers in the Andes. Nearly 17,000 boreholes scattered throughout the region provide the equivalent of an additional two rivers' worth of water flow to the area. A system of irrigation channels, canals and reservoirs (some dating to the 16th century) help sustain viticulture in this semi-arid desert region.

Wine producing areas

As of 2008, the Mendoza region contained more than 356,000 acres of planted vineyards-producing nearly two-thirds of the entire Argentine wine production. The principal wine producing areas fall into two main departments Maipu and Lujan, which includes Argentina's first delineated appellation established in 1993 in Lujan de Cuyo. With vineyards planted at altitudes between 2,6403,630 feet , the Lujan de Cuyo region is known particular for its Malbec which seems to thrive in this region as a mean annual temperature of 58F (15C). Historically the San Rafael region to the south and San Martin region to the east of the city of Mendoza were important centers for wine production. However the switch to premium wine production of international varieties has diminished their importance. One area of emerging importance in the Mendoza wine region is the Valle de Uco which includes the Tupungato Department featuring vineyards planted nearly 4000 feet above sea levels and is emerging as a source for premium quality white wine varietals such as Chardonnay.

In the Lujan department, areas that may appear on wine labels include the towns of Anchoris, Agrelo, Carrodilla, Chacras de Coria, Las Compuertas, Mayor Drummond, Perdriel, Tres Esquinas, Ugarteche and Vistalba. In the Maipu department, areas that may appear on wine labels include the towns of Maipu, Coquimbito, Cruz de Piedra, Las Barrancas, Lunlunta and Russell.

Grape varieties

The pink-skinned varieties of Cereza and Criolla Grande have historically formed the backbone of the Mendoza wine industry and today still account for around a quarter of all vineyard plantings. Used primarily for inexpensive jug wines and grape concentrate, their importance has steadily declined as the Mendoza region focuses more on the export of premium wine varietals. Malbec has emerged as the most important variety followed, in planted acreage, by Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

See also

Sir Edmund James Palmer Norton

Trapiche (winery)

External links

Wine Map of Mendoza

Mendoza vintage chart

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Mendoza wine

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