The Best Wine Regions in Argentina
It’s no secret that Argentina produces some of the best wine in the world: Merlot, Tempranillo and of course the delicious Malbec are all wines that we associate with this great South American country. In a place that’s home to a mindboggling 1,200 wineries, you might be wondering – where in Argentina are the top spots to try them first hand? If you’re a budding wine connoisseur or perhaps just enjoy the odd tipple, read on as we explore the diverse wine regions of Argentina and why they should be included in your next trip to South America.
The Rio Negro wine region
Famous for its sweeping views, lakes and stunning mountain ranges, it’s a little-known fact that the Rio Negro region has been producing wine for many years. Only fairly recently has this beautiful part of Argentina gained international recognition in terms of its fine wine and with good reason. Located in northern Patagonia, Rio Negro is the world’s most southern wine-growing region and although both red and white wine is made here, the Sauvignon Blanc that comes out of these valleys is particularly distinct. Thanks to the unique atmospheric conditions and all-round favourable terroir, the grape grown here reaches maturity slowly allowing a balanced flavour to develop within. One of the most esteemed wineries in the area is Bodega Humberto Canale. Established over 100 years ago, the team at this family run business have Patagonian wine running through their very veins. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, Bodega Aniello is a relatively new kid on the block, specialising in Malbec and Merlot.
The Cafayate wine region
Tucked away in the Calchaqui Valley in the Salta province, northwest Argentina, the town of Cafayate is a great place to find delectable bottles of Torrontes or maybe a Malbec if the mood takes you. A two-day tour of the area, starting from Salta, is an excellent way to quite literally get a taste of the region and once in Cafayate itself you won’t be disappointed. Not only is there a host of vineyards offering a range of wines but also the Museo de la Vid y el Vino which provides a fascinating insight into the world of wine and viticulture as a whole. This region is home to the highest altitude vineyards in the world and is a popular destination with wine enthusiasts. When it comes to deciding which vineyard to visit you’ll be spoilt for choice, however we particularly like Bodega Piattelli. Family run, with a sister winery in the Mendoza region, here you can dine on some of the best local produce available, pairing it of course with wine from the vines that surround you. On your return to Salta, Legado Mitico is an elegant place to stay with plenty of local character, an ideal bolthole from which to explore this historic city further.
The Mendoza wine region
Of course, we can’t talk about Argentina and wine in the same sentence without mentioning Mendoza, Argentina’s most prestigious wine region. Mendoza itself is a pleasure to visit but if it’s the wine that has drawn you to this area of the country then you’re in for a real treat. With a number of excellent hotels to choose from –the slick Park Hyatt in the city centre and the charming Casa La Galeana are particularly exceptional choices – you can start your day off in luxury before heading to your chosen bodega. Whether you wish to cycle, horse ride or take it easy with a chauffeur-driven car, this area of Argentina is a joy to explore, moving from one winery to another to sample the most divine bouquets that Mendoza has to offer. There are three main regions in terms of vineyards – Lujan de Cuyo, Uco Valley and Maipu – each distinct from one another, making this area of Argentina a wine lover’s paradise.
The Lujan de Cuyo wine region
Often talked about as the birthplace of Mendoza’s wine culture, with the Andes as your backdrop a day in the Lujan de Cuyo region promises to be full of tantalising experiences. The Catena Zapata winery is synonymous with Lujan de Cuyo. Nicolas Zapata is often credited for his pioneering techniques that have resulted in Argentina’s love affair with the ruby red Malbec, the altitude of his vines proving to be the key to its success. With this in mind, a visit to his bodega – still run today by his family – really does allow you to grasp the roots of this iconic drink. Elsewhere, Achaval Ferrer has been making waves in the region since 1998, specialising in Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and their very special Quimera, all found in the barrels of this bodega.
The Uco Valley wine region
A superb climate for most of the year has led to the Uco Valley being the producer of some of Argentina’s premium wines. Further afield than Lujan de Cuyo, it is still well worth a visit not only for the delectable wine but also to admire the stunning snow-capped mountains that surround the vineyards. Thanks to these two fantastic features most bodegas also have top-of-the-range restaurants to tempt you during your visit, allowing you to enjoy the pleasant scenery on sun-kissed terraces as you feast on gastronomic delights, all washed down with your wine of choice. One such place is Andeluna Cellars, home to vines that will eventually become everything from Chardonnay to Cabernet Franc, as well as an entertaining open kitchen serving locally produced delights throughout the day. While in the area be sure to also check out Salentein, which not only takes its visitors through the wine making process of its sophisticated Malbec, but is also home to an amazing art gallery; an all-encompassing experience, setting it apart perhaps from some of the neighbouring bodegas.
The Maipu wine region
Maipu is just outside Mendoza, and with such close proximity to the city this region is an ideal destination for those wishing to jump on a bike and spend the day cycling around the wineries, returning with ease to their hotel at the end of the afternoon. Sat at a slightly lower altitude than the Uco Valley and Lujan de Cuyo, some of the country’s most recognisable names in the world of wine can be found in and around the town of Maipu. One such example is the Bodega Trapiche, which exports wine all over the world, but visiting the winery first-hand allows you to try this first-class wine for yourself. Meanwhile, over at Bodega Tapiz a wonderful world awaits you, with resident Llamas, a horse and carriage ride, plus your pick from the vine, of course; be it a Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc. If you don’t want to leave, you don’t have to, as Tapiz also doubles up as a boutique hotel, with a swimming pool and restaurant to boot; what could be better?
Feeling inspired? Why not build your trip to Argentina with Discover Your South America, personalising your itinerary by handpicking the hotels, activities and length of stay according to your preferences. You can also call Surtrek on 1 866 978 7398 (Canada and USA) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) to talk to a travel expert; our team is always ready to help!