Argentine White Wine, a recent revolution.
Argentina is more than the house of pretty Malbecs. It is delivering an impressive range of white wines that can successfully compete in the leading wine consuming markets.
In Argentina, wine is the National Drink (decree of November 24, 2010, ratified by National Law in 2013) but nowadays, this New World country is associated with red wine only. However, was it always like that?
Until the 90s arrived, the average Argentine used to consume much more white wine than red. According to the statistics of the National Institute of Viticulture, in 1996 the dispatch of white wines to the market represented 60% of the total, while the rosé and red wine took the remaining 40%.
In Argentina, which is the largest producer of wine in Latin America and the fifth in the world, the industry went through a revolution from the 90s to 2010s in which the main victim was white wine.
In the second half of the twentieth century, the low and middle classes of the country used to consume popular wines such as pink and white which were soft on the palate contained relatively low alcohol levels, in large volume. However, in the need to respond to that huge demand, the wineries forgot to take care of the production conditions. Precisely when other beverages were coming up, and the quality would have been an ally to win the battle.
At the end of the 90s, led by the Malbec star, the Argentine Wine brand raised its value significantly, but surprisingly, this did not affect white wines at all.
Currently, the mix in terms of consumption is 24% white and 76% colored, far from European countries’ numbers, such as France and Spain, or America such as USA and Canada, where the share is much more equilibrated. Majority of the population in these countries prefers white wine, with Chardonnay as flag bearer and Sauvignon Blanc as an escort along with other successful grapes such as Moscatel or Pinot Grigio.
However, is there a revival of white in Argentina?
Yes, the revolution towards quality that began in the 90s with the reds, is now reaching white wine. The most restless consumer – medium and high range – shows a renewed interest in white wine. And that is not just random… Several Argentine producers are working hard to get the very best of this kind of wine in local terroirs.
In that sense, the wineries that lead this upturn, seek to strengthen the future of the whites, betting on a wider spectrum of styles and of course, on quality.
Some are focused on the revival and recovery of classic and abandoned strains that used to be the production basis of the popular generic whites of the seventies (mostly blends). However, nowadays, with all the care needed to get premium quality wine, they are being elaborated as single varietals. For example, Semillón, Viognier and Pedro Giménez,
Others choose to look for different styles and expressions for the white strains consecrated in the world, such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Producing at great heights (above 4000 feet), planting vineyards in areas with maritime influence at the East coast of Argentina, or just looking for different expressions of varieties, like more elegant or friendlier Torrontés, the iconic white grape of Argentina.
There are also those who focus on unusual white varieties for Argentina, like Pinot Grigio, Riesling or Gruner Veltliner.
One of the features which I left for the end is the Blends, because they are the ones that excite me the most! Some extraordinary wines that combine the virtues of varieties, like Marsanne, Roussanne, Gewürztraminer, Tocai or White Moscato.
We can list three big segments of Argentine white wine that you can find:
- Peculiar wines, perfect for wine geeks, and perfect fit for food pairings.
- Awesome value whites, sometimes for less than $12 dollars.
- High-end, world-class, white wines.
Do yourself a favor and taste some Argentine white wine!
These are some of the best rated white wines in VinoApp:
- Antología XLV, by Rutini Wines. Read more.
- Paradoux Blend, by Altocedro.
- Blanco, by Matervini.
- San Pedro de Yacochuya Blend. Read more.
- Old Vines 1945, by El Esteco. Read more.
- Signature Barrel Fermented, by Susana Balbo Wines. Read more.
- Adrianna Vineyard White Bones Chardonnay, by Catena Zapata. Read more.
- Gran Medalla, by Trapiche. Read more.