Argentinian Wines - the best wines from Argentina

The core of Argentina's winemaking heritage and its global renown lies at their exceptional Malbec wines. Most of its vineyards lie nestled at the base of the Andes Mountains, primarily within the provinces of Mendoza and San Juan. They benefit from nighttime coolness, vital in preserving essential acidity.

Backdropped against the majestic Andes, often at altitudes exceeding 7,500 feet, these wines symbolize the pinnacle of Argentine viticulture, tracing its roots back to 1557. Varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Bonarda, and Torrontes contribute significantly to this heritage.

In the late 19th century, Italian and Spanish families with great knowledge of producing Italian wines and Spanish wines settled near the Andes and were instrumental in establishing iconic wineries like Graffigna, Goyenechea Bodega y Viñedos, and Colomé 1831 in Mendoza.

Argentina proudly claims the world's largest Malbec vineyard area, recognized as the Malbec Capital, accentuating red wine varieties. Mendoza, hosting around 3/4th of the country's vineyards, dominates Argentina's wine production. Beyond Malbec, Argentina boasts diverse specialties, from robust Cabernet Sauvignons to delicate Torrontés white wines. Regions like San Juan and La Rioja significantly contribute to this.

Regulations in 1999 established the Appellation of Origin law, while the introduction of the first 100-point rating for Argentine wines in 2013 sparked collector interest. Esteemed wines like Bodega Aleanna 'El Gran Enemigo Single Vineyard' Gualtallary 2013 and Bodega Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard River Stones Malbec 2016 have garnered widespread acclaim.

Regions in Argentina

Mendoza  |  Patagonia  |  Tulum Valley

Best of Wines: Specialist in exclusive Argentinian wines

At Best of Wines, you have come to the right place if you are looking for exclusive Argentinian wines. We have an extensive stock of these wines from Argentina. The regions Mendoza, Patagonia and Tulum Valley are famous worldwide for their wines. 

Legendary wines from Argentina

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Argentina

History of wines from Argentina

Argentina's winemaking dates to the 1600s, gaining global recognition in the 1990s. Shaped by the ancient Andes Mountains, vineyards owe their uniqueness to these terroirs. From ancient settlements starting early agricultural practices in the Calchaquí Valley, to Incan influence, utilizing Andean rain and snow melt via canal systems.

The arrival of Malbec in Mendoza in 1868, introduced by Michel Pouget alongside French varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, marked April 17th as 'World Malbec Day. Despite the global devastation caused by Phylloxera in 1878, Argentina's distinctive Mendoza soil shielded its vineyards.

In the 1960, political upheavals led to the replacement of many vineyards. The 1990s saw Argentina shift to exclusive wines, with foreign investments transforming wineries in Mendoza.

Malbec: the grape of Argentina

The Malbec grape has its roots in France, particularly in the Bordeaux region, but it found its fame and success in Argentina. Argentina is widely regarded as the world's primary producer of Malbec wines. It has become synonymous with this varietal, producing some of the finest Malbecs globally. The Malbec boom was a crucial turning point for Argentina's wine industry. It revitalized and elevated the country's reputation as a leading wine producer, significantly impacting its economy.

In the economically tumultuous 1980s, known as ‘’The Lost Decade’’ in Latin America, Argentina faced a severe crisis. Stagflation, plummeting prices, inflation, and poor exchange rates led to a collapse in exports and a drastic reduction in the country's Malbec vineyards from 40,000 to 15,000 hectares. However, amidst this downturn, Argentine vintners identified an opportunity in the global market. They recognized the need to improve grape quality and winemaking techniques and led to the Malbec Boom, expanding the cultivation and production of Malbec not only in Argentina but also across numerous countries like Chile, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and others.

Grapes and wine regions of Argentina

Argentina's grape diversity thrives in its unique climatic conditions. Hotter climates suit certain varieties exceptionally well; Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah demand abundant sunshine and heat to reach full ripeness. The top varieties that are cultivated in Argentina’s wine country are Malbec, Cereza, Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Criolla Grande, Syrah, Pedro Ximinez, Torrontés Riojano, Chardonnay.

Argentina can be subdivided into four wine producing areas in the North as well as the Atlantic region, and the areas named Patagonia and Cuyo.

  • The northern area: consists of the Jujuy region, with some of the highest altitude vineyards in the world, and the Calchagui valley and Catamarca valley, including Salta and Santa Maria. The harsh conditions makes winemaking a real effort. But despite these challenges some of the best Argentinian wines come from these regions.
  • The Central and Atlantic region: commercial winemaking is relatively recent, with the majority of vineyards established since the 1990s. While historical vines existed in Santiago del Estero and Cordoba, recent years have witnessed significant growth in the central and eastern areas. Cordoba, especially, shows promise with the development of new vineyards in its surrounding hillsides. A leading winery is Trapiche with its Costa y Pampa vineyard. 
  • Patagonia:  favours varietals like Pinot Noir and Merlot. Despite representing less than 2% of Argentina's vineyards, its appellations, such as Río Negro and Neuquén, yield exquisite Pinot Noir. Further south in Trevelin, the climate challenges the growth of slow-ripening grapes but presents intriguing cool-climate whites like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewürztraminer.
  • Cuyo: As Argentina's largest winemaking zone, it stands as the epicentre of wine production, particularly renowned for classic Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon expressions. Nestled beside the Andes, Cuyo encompasses Mendoza and San Juan, collectively dominating 95% of Argentina's vineyards.

Terroir of wines from Argentina

Argentina's expansive wine regions, spanning 3,800 kilometres, showcase diverse terroirs shaped by varying geological and climatic conditions. From Salta's northern province to Mendoza's Andean foothills and Patagonia's plains, each area offers distinct viticultural advantages.

The key geographical factor setting Argentine wines apart is altitude, shaped by the towering Andes. The vineyards here range from 3,000 feet above sea level to heights of 2200 or even 3300 meters. These high-altitude vineyards, particularly the Uco Valley at 900-1400 meters, experience sharp day-night temperature contrasts, resulting in fresh grapes and intense, concentrated wines.

Unlike California, were Pacific Ocean currents moderate climate, the Mendoza region, is distinguished by its mountainous terrain. Elevations of 3,000 to 10,000 feet result in unique wines due to the tempering effect of the mountains. As a result, the same grapes exhibit varying characteristics, each reflecting the unique imprint of the terroir.

Mendoza

Wines from Mendoza have a worldwide reputation. Producers like:

  • Catena Zapata. A world famous domaine producing high scoring and sometimes very limited release wines.
  • Cheval des Andes. Pierre Lurton (founder and director of Château Cheval Blanc), discovered a Malbec vineyard in Las Compuertas in 1929. It was a vineyard where the original, ungrafted Malbec vines still stood. His dream was to make excellent and high scoring wine from these vines and he succeeded.Zuccardi: The Zuccardi family has eight vineyards in the Valle de Uco and are a leading winemaker in Mendoza; 
  • Cobos. Viña Cobos was founded by Paul Hobbs, the famous winemaker from Napa Valley. He took on the challenge of making wines at a level never before achieved in Argentina. And he did.

are producing some of the best wines worldwide.

Check all Mendoza wines on the Mendoza wines page.

Classifications of wines from Argentina

In the late 20th century, Argentina introduced a wine appellation system, initially with Indicaciones Geográficas (GIs). It is currently managed by the National Institute of Viticulture and entails three classifications:

  • Indicación de Procedencia (IPO)
  • Indicaciones Geográficas (GIs)
  • Denominación de Origen Controlada (DOC)

These classifications serve to authenticate wine origins, ranging from national to localized scales, ensuring transparency, and preserving regional identity.

The "Denominación de Origen Controlada" (DOC) serves as a marker for products originating from specific regions or entities within a nation's borders. Much like European appellations, it outlines geographic boundaries, regulates winemaking methods, and imposes yield limits per hectare. In Argentina, as of 2023, only two certified DOCs exist: DOC Lujan de Cuyo and DOC San Rafael. These DOCs are reserved exclusively for Malbec wines.

Argentina is home to only a handful of IPOs and more than 100 GIs. "Indicación Geográfica" (Geographical Indication) is attributed to wines originating from regions within national territory boundaries, although not exceeding provincial limits. It signifies a geographical tie to a specific area, preserving origin integrity within a larger territorial scope. "Indicación de Procedencia" (Indication of Provenance) refers to wines sourced from smaller geographic entities below the national scale, applicable to table or regional wines. An example is the IP Mendoza, highlighting this classification for wines from a defined, smaller region.

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