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Aside from football, the tango and warm conversations, Argentina is well-known for its wines, particularly malbec. The country is home to an estimated 2,000 wineries, making it the 5th largest producer of wine worldwide. From Salta in the north to Patagonia in the south, Argentina is a must-visit destination for anyone who values a good glass of wine. Argentina’s wine regions produce grapes with distinct flavor, quality and aroma. For when you decide to visit, we’ve put together this brief guide to Argentina’s top five wine regions.
Mendoza lies the heart of Argentina’s wine country. Home to more than 1,200 wineries, Mendoza produces nearly two-thirds of all of Argentina’s wine. Resting in the foothills of the Andes, the Mendoza wine region stretches more than 350,000 acres across the province. Thanks to its high altitude and its long hours of sunshine, the conditions in Mendoza are ideal for growing grapes rich in flavor and color.
Visit the Lujan de Cuyo and Uco Valley sub regions of Mendoza for some of Argentina’s most highly rated malbecs, torrontés, cabernet sauvignons and merlots.
- Bodega Catena Zapata
Catena Zapata is one of Argentina’s most famous brands of wine. Founded in 1902, Catena Zapata helped revolutionize malbec in the area and raise the profile of Argentinean wines worldwide. With its pyramid shaped winery standing against the backdrop of commanding mountains and vineyards, there’s lots to see, do and explore at Catena Zapata.
- Bodega Salentein
One of the oldest and largest wineries in the region, Bodega Salentein produces millions of bottles of wine each year. Take a tour of the winery and visit the subterranean cellar, located 8 meters underground, before finishing your day with a delightful tasting.
Things to do
- Visit the Parque de Aqua Termal in Cacheuta for a relaxing day spent lounging in the thermal baths.
- Get your adrenaline pumping by whitewater rafting down the Mendoza River.
Best time to visit: For the warmest temperatures, visit Mendoza between November and February.
Catamarca is located in the northwestern part of Argentina and is one of the country’s up-and-coming wine regions. A mountainous region that falls in the shadows of the Andes, Catamarca is one of Argentina’s smaller wine regions, with less than 7,000 acres under vine.
Most of the Catamarca’s vines are planted along the banks of the Abaucan River. Like much of Argentina, Catamarca is conducive to viticulture due to its low latitude and high altitude, which results in sunlight filled days and cool, dry evenings. This climactic combination is well known for producing excellent syrah, cabernet sauvignon, and the always-popular malbec.
The sub regions to explore on Argentina wine tours of Catamarca include Tinogasta, which is where 70% of the areas wines are produced, as well as Belén, Fiambalá, and Santa María.
- Finca Don Diego: The most famous of Catamarca’s wineries is Finca Don Diego. Well-known for producing an excellent syrah, Finca Don Diego is certified organic.
- Bodega Alta Esperanza: Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Longo family has prepared wines in artisanal form. For an unforgettable wine tasting in Argentina, visit Bodega Alta Esperanza and enjoy stunning panoramic views of the valley as you sample their renowned cabernet sauvignon, malbec and syrah.
Things to do
- Strap on your boots and explore this mountainous region of Argentina. Located in the midst of the Andes, hiking is a very popular attraction in the area.
- Explore the vibrant and lively San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca, the capital of Catamarca Province.
Best time to visit: Late March to early-June or late-July to mid-October offer the most pleasant conditions in Catamarca.
Characterized by its diverse landscapes that vary from lush rainforests and temperate valleys to Andean desserts, Salta in the north-west of Argentina is home to some of the highest and most spectacular vineyards. When in Salta for wine tasting, you cannot miss Cafayate, the most important wine region in the province. Wines produced in this region nearly 1,700 meters above sea level, at some of the highest vineyards in the world. Salta is revered for producing full-bodied white torrontés as well as fruity red cabernet sauvignon and tannat.
In addition to visiting Cafayate, make sure your wine tour of Salta includes stops San Carlos, Cachi, and Molinos, home to one of the world’s highest wine sites.
- Bodega Domingo Molina: Bodega Domingo Molina is a family-owned winery that has been in operation since the 1960s. Located at the foot of the Andes, Bodega Domingo Molina offers stunning views of the Calchaquí valley and surrounding countryside. Take a tour of the cellar and a stroll around the grounds as you sample one (or more) of the six lines of wine on offer.
- Bodega Colomé: Bodega Colomé is a must visit for any wine aficionado. Not only is it one of Argentina’s oldest wineries, dating all the way back to 1831, but it is one of the highest vineyards in the world. Take a tour of the facilities and don’t forget to pick up a bottle of Bodega Colomé’s unique and flavorful blends as you go.
Things to do
- Increase your knowledge of wine by visiting the Museum of the Vine and Wine of Cafayate (Museo de la Vid y el Vino).
- Immerse yourself in the Calcahaqui Valley by exploring on foot, bike or horseback.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Cafayate is between April to June and August to November.
Patagonia is famous for its rugged and expansive landscape that is flocked with adventure travelers every year. But there’s more to a Patagonia trip than mountains, ice, penguins and snow. In and amongst this impressive scenery lays the lush valley of Rio Negro, an up-and-coming Argentinian wine region. Named after the 121 km long, 8 km wide stretch of river that lies midway between the Andes mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean, Rio Negro valley has a reputation for producing great varietals of malbec and cabernet sauvignon. Its merlot, semillon and pinot noir varietals are slowing gaining popularity too.
- Bodega Chacra
Winery, farm and garden all rolled into one, Bodega Chacra can be found at the heart of this remote region. Enjoy organic and locally produced fares as you sip on Chacra’s pinot noir, considered one of the best in the country.
- Bodega Noemía de Patagonia
Described as a dream between the earth and the sky, the Bodega Noemía de Patagonia is a small vineyard that produces noteworthy a Malbec. Stare over the vineyards and into the horizon at Bodega Noemía de Patagonia as you enjoy crisp, clean air and unique and flavorful blends.
Things to do
- Enjoy nature by hiking in the nearby mountains or relaxing on one of the province’s beaches.
- Explore Lake Nahuel Huapi where visitors can go hiking, fishing or mountaineering in the summer.
Best time to visit: For the best conditions, visit Patagonia and Rio Negro between October and April.
The province of Cordoba is located in the centre of Argentina. A few hundred kilometers south of Buenos Aires, Cordoba is famous for its rolling hills, lush forests, soaring sierras and small villages. It is also home to one of the country’s smallest wine regions. Spanning just a handful of acres, Cordoba is a region that packs a big punch.
First established in the 16th century, the Cordoba wine region is one of the oldest in South America. Originally known for producing cheap, sweet wine, today the region has a reputation for producing sophisticated malbecs, pinot noirs, and chardonnays. Thanks to its healthy soil and high temperatures, grapes grown in Cordoba have a distinct and robust flavor.
The majority of the region’s wines are produced in Colonia Caroya, a small village less than 50 km from the province’s capital, making it the perfect destination for a day trip.
- Jairala Oller: Surrounded by the Sierras, you will find yourself seduced by the scenery during a visit to Jairala Oller. Just 125 km north of Cordoba, enjoy a peaceful day at the winery, indulging in local fares and sampling delicious blends.
- Famiglia Furfaro: The first winery in Villa Ciudad Parque, Famiglia Furfaro is surrounded by idyllic nature. Explore Famiglia Furfaro under blue skies, green plains and soaring mountains.
Things to do
- Dance the night away in the capital city of Cordoba. The country’s second most populous city, Cordoba is home to many nightclubs, discotheques and tango clubs.
- Take a bike ride around the city, soaking in its rich history and vibrant culture.
Best time to visit: Visit mid-March to mid-May or late August to mid-November for the best conditions in Cordoba.
From Catamarca to Rio Negro, each of Argentina’s wine regions offers a distinct blend of nature, wine and adventure. Whether on your own or as part of a tour, a visit to one (or all) of Argentina’s wine regions is an unforgettable experience for any wine aficionado.