7 Argentinean terroirs to have in sight
From North to South, wine regions that are definitely on the radar of international wine critics.
Thus it has been chosen to put the accent on the so-called Geographical Indications (GI). According to data from the INV, there are currently 99 recognized and protected GIs. The IG is a comprehensive concept that concerns both a province, for example, Mendoza, as well as an area of the same province, such as Uco Valley, or a locality, located in the area in question, such as Altamira.
The purpose of a GI is the differential and irreproducible characteristics of the product generated in that specific site.
Our seven chosen ones
1- ALTAMIRA GI, Uco Valley, Mendoza
Located within the district of La Consulta in the south of the Uco Valley, Mendoza. Currently, you can find vineyards over 100 years old. The surface is distributed in small farms in the hands of many producers, some of them small and that have been there for generations. The altitude exceeds 1,000 meters above sea level.
In 2013, the National Institute of Vitiviniculture recognized the Paraje Altamira as a GI, as it has unique characteristics for growing grapes and producing high-end wines. In 2016 a controversial extension of this GI was granted (from 4,500 to 9,300 hectares) that was rejected by many producers.
The soil is characterized by the presence of rocks that in some cases exceed 2 meters in diameter. They are calcareous soils and exhibit a vital presence of calcium carbonate up to 3 mm thick.
The climate is continental with intense cold and high thermal amplitude. This implies excellent natural health of the grapes. The average temperatures in the ripening season: 20 ° C / 68 ° F. The annual average of precipitations is of 213 mm / 1,03ft.
The wines are characterized by the presence of fresh fruit in the mouth, its marked acidity, and its mineral textures.
3 chosen wines
- Zuccardi, Aluvional, Altamira, Zuccardi Uco Valley.
- Rutini, Single Vineyard, Altamira, Malbec, Rutini Wines.
- Lupa, Malbec, 2016, Lupa Wines.
2- LOS CHACAYES, GI
Located in the department of Tunuyán, in the Uco Valley, at the foot of the Andes. The appeal was granted by the Piedra Negra winery (ex Lurton) who had it registered as a trademark. According to experts, the varieties that best adapt there are Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The heights range from 1,100 to 1,400 meters. They are soils composed of alluvial gravels, low and heterogeneous. The precipitations are scarce.
Type of wines. Concentrated in colors and aromas with floral notes. Very good acidity which gives them a good aging potential. Firm tannins.
3 chosen wines
- Calcáreo, Río de los Chacayes, 2013, SuperUco.
- Petit Blousson, Malbec-Bonarda, 2013, Finca Blousson.
- L’Esprit de Chacayes 2016, François Lurton, Piedra Negra.
3- GUALTALLARY GI
Located in Tupungato, Uco Valley. It is distinguished by its alluvial, stony, poor, calcareous soils, with a high presence of calcium carbonate and sand. Similar to those of Burgundy or Champagne. The vineyards are between 1100 and 1600 meters above sea level. The weather is cold.
Types of wines. Fresh, good acidity. Intense, with structure and tension in the mouth. Sometimes, dusty texture. Cultivated strains: Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
3 chosen wines
- Rutini Single Vineyard, Gualtallary, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, Rutini Wines.
- Gran Enemigo Gualtallary, Cabernet Franc, 2013.
- Adrianna Vineyard, White Bones, Chardonnay 2015, Bodega Catena Zapata.
4- VALLE DE PEDERNAL GI, San Juan
This GI is in force since 2007. The Pedernal Valley is located southwest of the province of San Juan, 90 kilometers from the city of San Juan. It is the most important wine region in this province. Its cultivable heights range from 1,250 to 1,500 m.a.s.l. The valley is protected by a natural barrier, the Pedernal hill. It has great salubriousness. The viticulture began to develop in the ’90. The climate is continental and cold with little rainfall, 150 millimeters on average, mainly in spring and summer. It usually snows on average two to three times a year, in winter. The average maximum temperatures range from 28 ° to 24 ° C, and the average minimum temperatures from 10 ° to 4 ° C. The daily average temperature ranges from 20 ° to 14 ° C, which is very favorable for the quality and concentration of the grape.
The soils are alluvial constituted by stones of different sizes and angular shapes. They are poor, of varied compositions with a preponderance of limestone and flint stones called “Pedernales”.
It happens to get wines of high concentration that give unique flavors, very particular. They are distinguished by their texture including very particular tannins, arising from the characteristics of the soils.
3 chosen wines
- Pyros, Appellation Syrah 2016, Pyros Wines.
- Fuego Blanco Sauvignon Blanc 2015.
- Sagrado Pedernal, Malbec 2014, Finca Las Moras.
5- Calchaquí Valleys, GI
In the North of the country, located among the provinces of Salta, Catamarca, and Tucumán, Calchaquí Valleys are home of the highest vineyards in the world, from 1,800 to 3,100 meters above sea level. To the already known Yacochuya, Colomé and Payogasta, there are new subzones like Luracatao, Pucará, Humanao, Huacalera, and Hualfín.
They have a great variety of microclimates with high insolation and strong winds. The rains are very scarce. The large thermal amplitude makes wine production viable producing mature grapes with a high concentration of colors, aromas, and flavors are obtained.
Soils here are low in organic matter and rocky. Due to the climate, height and soil conditions, you get mature fruits, with thick skins that generate intense and deep red color, very expressive, and with long aging potential. The most adopted strains are Torrontés, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Tannat.
3 chosen wines
- Laborum, Torrontés, 2017, Bodega El Porvenir.
- RD, Sauvignon Blanc, 2016, Tacuil.
- Facón, Blend, 2015, Bad Brothers.
6- Cafayate GI
It is a small isolated valley that is located in the heart of the Calchaquí Valleys, in the southwest of the province of Salta. Widely recognized for the quality of its wines, it has a desert climate with warm days and cold nights, little rain and high sunshine. The topographic relief of Cafayate shows two zones, one with “sandy loam” soils and the other with stony soils. Due to very concentrated and mature grapes, the resulting wines have soft and round tannins.
3 chosen wines
- San Pedro de Yacochuya Blend, 2015.
- Colomé, Lote Especial, 2015, Bodega Colomé.
- Domingo Molina, Malbec, 2014.
7- Patagonia GI – The High Valley of Río Negro GI
The vineyards with GI Patagonia Argentina are the southernmost in the world. Located to the south of the Colorado River, it is made up of five provinces: Neuquén, Rio Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego. At present, the last two are excluded from wine production. Within this broad universe, the highlight is on The High Valley of Río Negro as an area with a winemaking tradition, and future.
The climate is continental with cold winters and hot, dry summers. The vineyards are 370 meters above sea level. The rainfall is around 200 mm per year. The particularity of this region is its Patagonian winds, which come from the mountains and provide significant health to the grapes. The soils are alluvial, of different textures, from the stony to the loamy loams, passing through the sandy and loamy sand.
Elegant, fruity wines with excellent acidity and well-balanced. The white grape varieties that stand out are the Semillón and the Sauvignon Blanc. Among the red wine grapes, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Malbec.
3 wines chosen
- A Lisa Malbec, 2015 Bodega Noemía
- Old Vineyard, Semillón, 2016, Humberto Canale.
- Verum, Pinot Noir, Reserva, 2016, Del Río Elorza.
Which are the other zones that surprised you?