An illustrious stranger named Pedro Giménez

Pedro Gimenez does not enjoy the recognition that it deserves.

 

It is one of the most planted varietals in the country.

What happens to the variety Pedro Gimenez is very curious. According to data from the National Institute of Viticulture (INV for its initials in Spanish), in Argentina there exist more than 11,389.13 hectares of vineyards for production.

Although for most consumers it is an unknown varietal and the offer of labels is limited, it is the most planted white wine grape in Argentina.

In Mendoza, for example, it represents 33.36 percent of the vineyards planted and in San Juan province a similar situation occurs, although it is somewhat tighter as it denotes the 25.51 percent.

When it comes to the total in the country, the proportion increases to a 30.46 per cent.

The report by the INV also indicates regarding the planted surface there has been a declining tendency in recent years. However, it still remains on top of other more recognized ones such as Chardonnay, Sémillon or Sauvignon Blanc.

Pedro Gimenez is a variety that has a lot of versatility as it can be used to make many of the white table wines that are on the market, or to make sulphited must or as base wine for sparklings, among other purposes.

“When elaborating the base wine (for sparklings) from Pedro Gimenez, it does not have the aromas of the still wines.  This allows to add it in any cut without altering flavors and aromas”, said Pepe Reginato

With respect to its ampelographic characteristics we can say that the skin of the grain is thick and of a greenish yellow color. The pulp has little to none pigmentation. The vine shoot is dark brown.

This grape has a medium to late ripening. The vine can be very vigorous and productive because it has large bunches of grapes in different sizes.

This is why for a long time its harvest was prioritized since it offered great performance. However the demand went down last year due to lack of profitability.

Cluster of Pedro Giménez

Cluster of Pedro Giménez

Although the INV admits any of the best known acceptations, it is interesting to know whether we should say: Gimenez or Ximenez?

Pedro Ximenez is a white grape that is found mainly in the south of Spain, in Andalusia, and it is part of the appellations of origin for Jerez, Montilla-Moriles and Malaga.

It is worth highlighting, as a curiosity, that the barrels used for aging Pedro Ximenez are usually sent to Scotland and Ireland because they utilize them for the breeding of some whiskies as it provides sweet notes.

And that is where we will conclude the story because the grape in which we are now focusing our interest is the one with “G”.

“We are developing, in experimental phase, some distillates and spirits based on Pedro Gimenez from Uco Valley.” Matías Michelini

In Argentina we find the Pedro Gimenez variety that turns out to be a variety of white Criolla grape.

Even though some studies determined that, for instance, the majority of the native varieties existing in America would have originated from the crossbreeding of Muscat of Alexandria and Criolla Chica, also known as Listán Prieto, the report concludes that the Pedro Gimenez would also be the result of crossbreeding of the above mentioned varieties, being the Criolla Chica the most likely maternal progenitor.

“Pedro Giménez shares a little bit of history with Bonarda due to that fact that everyone in Mendoza has been making wine from these two but for a long time they remained kept in the shadows.” Mariana Onofri

Nicolás Orsini

Nicolas Orsini

@nicolasorsiniBL

Journalist. WSET® L2 Wines & Spirits. Passionate about communicating the wonderful world of wine. Member of ‘Argentina Wine Bloggers’. Critic at ‘Vino Sub30 2015 edition’. Collaborator in Argentine Association of Sommeliers.

 

 

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