Bubble boom in Argentina

90px-Prosecco_sparkling_wineSparkling wine is getting more and more popular all over the world. It is far from being just a wine to celebrate New Years Eve or birthdays. Having a glass of sparkling on Tuesday night watching TV is OK as well and nobody should give you a weird look 🙂

That phenomenon can be felt strongly in Argentina. Within a decade the industry went from having almost no sparkling wines to every “serious” winery having their own sparkling wine. For example in comparison to 2003 the sparkling wine production grew 160% by 2013, the production was as high as around 55 million bottles per year.

Like in the rest of the world also in Argentina the sparkling wine consumers is younger generation, people who are not afraid to try new things plus when going out in Argentina you may notice that in every night club they offer sparkling wine, also in most of the restaurants.

Crisis, that made Argentine inflation as high as 30-40% per year has had it effect on the wine production, but luckily exporting is helping to keep the businesses going and the local wine consumption is still high.

120px-Sparkling_wine_in_riddling_rack_@_Tenuta_il_BoscoThe methods used to make sparkling wine are:

  1. The easiest and the cheapest – gas injection. Those wines are like alcoholic sodas, gas is being injected to the wine, bubbles are big and going everywhere. Gas injection will dehydrate the body fast and because of that is more likely to cause a headache the day after. This method is used to make low quality and inexpensive sparkling wines.
  2. Charmat method sparkling wines are created by doing secondary fermentation in pressured steal tanks and then  the wine is bottled under pressure so the bubbles stay inside the wine. Even though this method is less expensive and allows bigger production than Champenoise it is used to make fine quality wine. Wines are very fruity and the fresher the better, not to be aged because it looses it fruity characteristics.
  3. Champenoise method is most famous for being used to make Champagne in France. Second fermentation is done inside the bottle, so this method takes more time and money. The wine should ferment in the bottle for at least 15 months before selling it but often wine makers leave it ferment for 3-6 years.
  4. Transfer method is a mix of Charmat and Champenoise, secondary fermentation is done inside the bottle but then the wine is poured out from the bottles to a stainless steal tanks and bottled again. This is useful to have all the bottles the same quality. In Champenoise method the taste may vary but like this an equal level is created.

You can find 5 different style of sparkling wines in Argentina:

  • Nature/ Brut Nature – dry wine, less than 3 grams of sugar per liter
  • Extra Brut – dry wine, less than 6 grams of sugar per liter
  • Brut – dry wine, less than  15 grams of sugar per liter
  • Demi-Sec – medium dry sweeter wine, 33-50 grams of sugar per liter
  • Dulce – sweet wine, more than 50 grams of sugar per liter

In 2013 most produced Argentine sparkling wines were:

  1. Extra Brut – 28.6 millions of liters
  2. Dulce – 3 millions liters
  3. Demi-Sec – 2,6 millions liters
  4. Brut – 2.4 millions liters
  5. Nature/ Brut Nature – 2 millions liter

Almost 4 million liters from that was exported. That is a great amount for Argentina and even though Argentine red wine is more common it is important that Argentine sparkling wine is reaching foreign markets and growing popularity.

 

 

 

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About Argentine culture and customs

When coming to Argentina it is good to know some things about the country so you would be prepared! Of course Argentina is big and in different parts the customs are different but in general with this information you should be safe.

welcomeingWelcoming and saying goodbye: Argentinians welcome each other with a kiss on a cheek, one kiss in the capital and in many provinces like Corrientes people are welcomed with a kiss on both cheeks. It is also used when saying goodbye to somebody. It can feel a bit strange at first but is easy to get used to. When going, for example, a birthday party and there are 13 people there already then it is polite to go and say hello to everybody with a kiss on a cheek, also when leaving. So a lot of kissing 🙂 In official circles people use handshakes as it is more professional, already later when a relationship is established it can be chosen which welcoming way people prefer to use.

fatNicknames: People often call their friends or family members “gordo” (for guys) or “gorda” (for girls), the translation would be “fatty”. It does not mean that they are trying to insult another person, it is used as a pet name and can sound quite sweet. So if somebody calls you “gordo” don’t feel bad, they probably like you!

busiBusiness: When a supervisor explains something and you say just “yes” it may be taken as if you didn’t understood what you were told. So the best way to avoid it just repeat the instructions as a sign that everything was clear. It is a good sign when you look people in the eyes when talking, a confident look is always a positive sign and often people may use a sort of “arrogant” tone but it is not because they are snobby but to appear more serious.

languageLanguage: English is spoken but most of the time people prefer to speak Spanish. It is highly respected even if you don’t know much but if you at least try. It is always to have CV-s and business cards in two languages.

dinenrDinner: Argentine people are very sociable, often people gather for drinks and dinners. Don’t be amazed if you are invited to a dinner at 10pm, often families eat around that time. Often people are relaxed but when invited to an Argentine family dinner it is polite to go dressed up. Women wear dresses and men shirts. To show up on time is not common, being 15 minutes late is OK and a good moment to arrive. It is important to take a present to the hostess, nothing big but something to show you appreciate the invitation. Table manners are important..wait for a toast before drinking, look into the eyes doing so! Fork on the left hand and knife on the right one, take your time when eating and make sure to praise the chef.

asadoFood and drinks: Very common foods are pizza, pasta, empanada and milanesa. You could find those options in most regular restaurants. Asado is Argentine version of a barbecue. Fun grill event with family and friends, in many places it is regularly done every Sunday. Pouring drinks is men’s task in Argentina so if you would like to have a refill it is polite to turn to a male and ask him to serve you more instead of doing it yourself.

footPassionate topics: People discuss a lot about politics, some about sports, almost every person has their favorite football team and it is better not to argue about who is better because Argentinians are very passionate about it.

Wine lovers Christmas presents

Christmas presents can be quite a headache but there are some great options if you or your friend happens to be a wine lover. There are wide variety of cool, useful and fun presents. Some could even be made at home to give a present a personal touch, for example who wouldn’t love homemade Cabernet Sauvignon truffles?!?

My top 11 wine lovers Christmas ideas are:

Wine chocolate
laWine is delicious, chocolate is delicious, together they are super delicious! La Goulue is
a chocolatier in Argentina offering two types of wine chocolates – milk chololate with Malbec filling and dark chocolate with Cabernet Sauvignon filling.

 

Wine holder

To give something extra to a regular wine holders why not to get something different! Like a lovely bird or man shape wine holder. holder product_thumb

Wine theme board games

This is a fun one! The options are endless and it is a great excuse why to drink wine 🙂

Couple of games to check are : Winerd, World of wines and Wineoply. 
wineoplolywinerd world of wine

Bottle or a case of a good wine


parme
meviMix and match some good wines for a good friend. If getting a bottle, adding some cheeses to go with it is a great idea. For example with Chardonnay hard cheeses like Parmesan and Gouda will go very well.

 

Special wine glass

swarsrarsThis option is great not only for Christmas. Something to give to a special person, Swarovski has an offer of two beautiful Chrystalline White Wine Glasses. It is pricey but will most surely make an impact!

Funny corkscrew
corkscHas happened before that I buy a bottle of wine when I go to a friends house and oh my oh my..she doesn’t have a corkscrew. So this present is perfect for a friend who has a good sense of humor and no corkscrew.

Wine wipes to get rid of red wine marks on teeth

wine-wipes-single-pack1-247x300Don’t you just hate how after drinking red wine the teeth stay all purple. Wine wipes are a great solution to make drinking red wine less red. It is a great present for yourself, for a sister or a friend.  You can just go to the restroom and wipe off the dark smile and make other jealous of your pearly teeth.

A good book about wine

wine bibleA good book book not only makes your friend happy but it also makes you look good. A smart present for a person who could use some more information about wines and who likes to learn more, for example ”The Wine Bible” by Karen McNeil.

Wine soap

downloadThis could apply not only for soaps but I just love the handmade beautiful soaps. Wine has many good qualities and it smells good as well!

Wine rack

It is time to show off those bottles of wine that are hiding in the dark corner somewhere or worse..there is no wine! A good solution is to have a small wine rack in the kitchen or living room so you could always be prepared for visitors and that your friends would always be ready to receive you, of course the last is the best benefit of giving your friend a wine rack. Options are wide and it there is something out there for every household.

2 3 rack rack1

 Make your own presents

images (1)How about some home made hot wine glöggi?

bagMake your own wine bag!

trufflesYou can make your own truffles with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon, here is a receipe.

 

 

 

Red wine ABC – most commonly asked questions

 

pumpHow long an open bottle of wine bottle lasts? There are couple of ways how to make the wine last a bit longer but normally after 2 or 3 days the wine will change and loses its best qualities. Key is to not leave it out at the room temperature, if possible then use wine vacuum pump to get rid of the extra air in the bottle and like that you could make the wine last for a week. If you don’t have a vacuum pump then use the cork to close the bottle and try to drink the rest within couple of days. Open bottle of wine that has been standing for long is a great one to use for cooking so there is no need to throw anything away.

 

redWhat gives red wine the red color? Purple or black grapes give wine the red color. Grape skins has pigment and during the maceration process, when skin is left with the wine it gives the wine a color. Depending on the duration of the maceration process color can be lighter or darker. Color also depends on the acids in the wine, if a wine is more acid then with the time the wine turns more brown.

220px-Fruity_section_of_Aroma_Wheel_copyright_A_C_Noble_1990_2002_wwwwinearomwheelcomWhat aromas and notes to look in a red wine?

  • Floral notes are more common in white wines but in a mature red wine of violet is present.
  • Fruits like strawberry and raspberry, blackcurrant and blackberry.
  • Others like bread, smoke noted from oak barrels, leather and spices.

oldHow long to age a wine? It is often assumed all wines can be aged for long but that is not correct. Aging is important for some wines to be able to grow the quality. Wines that have not been in oak barrels are often better to drink within 1-4 years so the wine wouldn’t lose its floral notes. The ones that have been in oak barrels are better to be drunk between 3-10 years. There are only few wines that can be aged more than 10 years, for example wines with low pH have higher aging potential like Pinot Noir and Sangiovese.

wine fridgeWhat is the best serving temperature of the red wine? Depending on a wine, often it helps when you just chill the wine before consuming. Best temperatures for drinking and aging are around 15- 19 degrees Cº. For aging another factor is needed – humidity. Humidity is important to keep the cork from drying, so the best place for a wine is a wine fridge if you don’t have a wine cellar.

corkedHow to understand if wine is bad? Most common wine problems are:

  • cooked wine – wine has been held in high temperature for long time or has been on the sunlight; causes cork to come out from a bottle leaving wine exposed to air, often fresh floral notes are gone and the wine tastes as if it had been cooked
  • corked wine – comes mainly from a cork; wine smells like mold or a wet basement and tastes pretty much the same
  • oxidized – caused by bad wine closure; depending on a wine but often you can feel that wines smells and tastes like vinaigrette
  • volatile acidity – bacteria alcohol and oxygen react and turn wine sour
  • too much sulfur – sulfur is in every wine but if there is too much of it then the wine smells and tastes like burnt rubber
  • re-fermenting – sometimes wine keeps of fermenting, that is caused by a yeast and wine can turn a little bit bubbly so it is an easy flaw to notice

250px-Bottle_of_tannic_acidWhat is tannin? Tannin is a compound found from grapes skins, stems and pips. When wine has a longer maceration process it can be more tannic and also when wine is aged in new oak barrels. Tannins are preservative that keep the wine from aging and gives a wine stucture and texture. Tannins depends a lot of the wine making process and normally in young wines tannins can be felt more as when wine ages tannins get more round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Argentine wines in the world

When talking about Argentina people think of Maradona, Evita, Messi, tango, meat and of course wine. Argentine wines are getting more and more attention in foreign markets and now Argentina is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world.
wine exportDuring the 80’s and the early 90’s Argentina didn’t export more than 2% of its wines, the wine consumption per capita was the biggest in the world so there was no need to export. In 1990 Argentina exported less than 500 000 hectoliters of wine and by 2007 the number had increased to exporting over 3 500 000 hectoliters per year.  The main reason for this massive growth was that in the 90’s the consumption decreased in the local market and wine producers were forced to seek new ways to sell their wines and exportation was a perfect solution. 90’s became a decade of changes, economy was doing well, many wine makers started using new technologies and new techniques were introduced to make fine quality wine for export.

EXPORTACIONES-ARGENTINAS_CLAIMA20120219_0116_4In 2013 top 10 countries where the wines were exported were: 1 – USA, 2-Canada, 3- Brazil, 4- UK, 5- Netherlands, 6- Mexico, 7- China, 8- Switzerland, 9- Sweden, 10 – Japan. The most exported grape varieties were: 1- Malbec, 2- Cabernet Sauvignon, 3- Red Generic, 4- Chardonnay, 5- Torrontés.

malbecIt is not exaggerated to say that one of the main reasons people know about Argentine wines is Malbec. It was brought to Argentina from France in 1868 after provincial governor ,Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, who later became a president had asked Michel Aimé Pouget, a French agronomist, to bring some vines from France to Argentina on 17th of April, 1853. Little did they know that they had brought to Argentina a grape that will put Argentina on the map as a quality wine making country. On the honor of Malbec and Domingo Faustino Sarmiento the World Malbec Day was created. It is celebrated on 17th of April all around the world.

Here are the top 20 most sold Argentine wines in the world (mln $USD, year 2013):

  1. Alamos $34.4
  2. Catena $19.1
  3. Trapiche Reserve $13.1
  4. Trapiche $12.5
  5. Trivento $11.9
  6. Fuzion $10.6
  7. Las Moras $8
  8. Terrazas Reserva $7.6
  9. Graffigna Centenario $6.9
  10. Santa Julia $6.8
  11. Tilia $6.7
  12. Pascual Toso $6.5
  13. Norton Reserva
  14. Astica $5.9
  15. Norton Collection $5.6
  16. Navarro Correas $5.1
  17. Altos del Plata $5.0
  18. Norton $5.0
  19. Luigi Bosca $4.9
  20. Doña Paula $4.9

Those wines can be found quite easily around the world and have won the hearts of many wine lovers. One of the keys why Argentine wines are so popular  is the price and quality relationship, you can get a good wine at a very reasonable cost.

carinaeOther important Argentine wines to find in the world are boutique wines. Wineries that produce limited amount of bottles, special collections, often from vineyards where the vines are many decades old. For big companies it is not profitable to use old vines as the grapes are small so they prefer to use new vines that grow bigger grapes and produce more quantity as to boutique wineries those small concentrated grapes are important to produce something unique. Some of the many names are Bodega CarinaE, Bodega Dimonio del Plata, Bodega Ruca Malen and Bodega Melipal.

 

 

 

Dinosaur in a winery – welcome to Patagonia!

dinoPatagonia is known for wines like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Malbec, Semillon and Torrontés Riojano. It is also known for something very different but very important – dinosaurs. Patagonia is gaining reputation as one of the best place where to look for fossils of dinosaurs and how cool it is to have a dinosaur in your wine cellar! That is exactly the case for one family owned winery in Patagonia, Argentina.

saurus1Familia Schroeder is producing quality wines using modern techniques. The winery is located in Valley of San Patricio del Chañar, Patagonia. Vines grow on a hillside plateau which makes this winery stand out from the rest. The rise is around 22 meters from the lowest point to the heighest. Their lines are called: Familia Schroeder, Saurus, Saurus Barrel Fermented, Saurus Seleccion, Espumantes, Alpataco Select, Alpataco, Puestero Select and Puestero. The Lines Saurus and Saurus Selection were inspired by Titanosaurus found from the winery when they were doing construction works in their wine cellar. The dinosaur was named Panamericansaurus Schroederi, after the family name. When visiting Familia Schroeder’s winery you get to see the dinosaur and they have tours in the winery as well.

ArgentinosaurusTitanosauruses are the biggest dinosaurs. Panamericansaurus Schroederi was a long-necked herbivore, they could grow up to 30 metres (98 ft) in length and weigh of up to 80 tonnes. There are many other dinosaurs found from close by. One of the biggest Titanosaurus is called Argentinosaurus. In Patagonia a local rancher  found the Argentinosaurus’s leg in 1987 and after that many other parts were found. Sadly the skeleton was incomplete but those parts found were enough to help the scientist  estimate the size.  Recently paleontologists found another enormous skeleton of Titanosaurus and it is thought to be the biggest land animal who ever walked on the Earth. Dreadnoughtus schroni was found in Patagonia, Argentina and the skeleton is very complete. The bones found help the paleontologist to get a better idea how the massive dinosaur looked like and behaved. It is believed to have lived 77 million years ago and the skeletons amazingly great conditions was caused by a quick death by quicksand so the skeleton was buried deep for millions of years. It’s weight was approximately around 65 tons and the length around 26 m. The name Dreadnoughtus means “fears nothing”, which is a very suitable name for this massive dinosaur who had to fear nobody.Dreadnoughtus_illustration_by_Jennifer_Hall

patagoniaPatagonia is almost 50 % of Argentine’s territory. The land in there is very rocky which makes it easy to find the bones as they are well revealed. Paleontologist keep on finding new specimens that are changing the way we thought about dinosaurs. For example it is believed that herbivores and carnivores never lived together but new findings say the opposite. Today’s South America can be one of the only places in the world where giant long-neck herbivores and carnivores lived together. It is not known if the meat eaters were a threat to the enormous plant eaters because size wise the plant eaters were just too big! But if the meat eaters would have attacked in a group who knows… When the continents split the dinosaurs started to develop in a different way. Then something happened, all the long-necks died in the northern continents but in the south they survived and even more, they became even bigger and bigger. It is believed that in today’s South America was a home for  the biggest dinosaurs ever.

So the next time when visiting Patagonia make sure to keep your eyes wide open, you might find your own dinosaur!

 

 

Must things to buy from Argentina

When travelling then it is always a questions what to take back to home, what are the best quality products, what represent the country and what things are hard to find elsewhere. So here are couple of things to help!

leatherArgentine meat is one of the best in the world but so is Argentine leather. Prices are not inexpensive but the quality and price relationship makes it most surely a good deal! You can find big variety of leather jackets, shoes, bags and so on. If you walk in Villa Crespo neighborhood you are guaranteed to get a good price. This neighborhood is known for its many outlets and it is very popular amongst tourist as well as local people.

alfajorhavanna

Staying in Argentina one of the things hard to not eat is dulce de leche. Argentinians love this sweet cooked condensed milk treat. They use it in numerous desserts and one of the most popular one is an alfajor. Alfajor is basically a cookie with dulce de leche in the middle and often covered in chocolate or sugar coating. Most famous ones are Havanna and Cachafaz, like dulce de leche alfajors can be found in almost every supermarket.

reserva-malbec

Argentina is a wine producing country so if you are a wine lover try to get the most of of it! There are plenty of small boutique wineries producing top quality wine and taking a limited production wine home is a great idea. Not to mention that Argentine Malbec is one of the best in the world!

yerba mate te

Yerba mate is a very popular local drink. Dried Yerba is put into a container, then covered with approximately 80 Cº hot water. For drinking a special metal straw is used, it is called bombilla and has little holes in it so that you get the beverage but not the yerba. Some people add sugar to make it sweeter but it is often drunken without. Drinking yerba mate is a very important custom amongst friends, people gather and share the drink and time together. People carry thermoses with hot water, yerba mate and mate – a cup where the drink is prepared, and a bombilla.

tango

CD of tango or milonga can be found in any music stores and touristic areas. Tango and milonga are extremely important in Argentina and often when people think of Argentina then tango is one of the first things that come to mind.

 

paez1Alpargatas are very popular footwear in Argentina and are also very comfortable. They were more known as shoes worn by cauchos, Argentine own cowboys but now are common sight in city streets as well. A brand called Paez has given them a new style, the variety is very big and they are a perfect choice for summer! In The States there is a copy of alpargatas called TOMS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Origin of the wines grown in Argentina

argentinaArgentina is well known as a wine country but most of the vines were brought here by immigrants. European immigration in 19th century made Argentina the country with the second largest number of immigrants, with 12,6 million people right after the Unites States. Most of the people came from Italy, Spain and a smaller amount from Great Britain. They brought with them the culture, food and customs. Many of the families who grew wines in Europe continued to do so in Argentina.

bordeauxMalbec – comes from France, Bordeaux region. In there is it called Auxerrois or Cot Noit. It was brought to Argentina by French agricultural engineer Michel Pouget in 1868 and is now the most grown grape in Argentina. In 1956 when frost killed off 75% of the crop in France they took plants back from Argentina so it is very common in Argentina to say that they have the original Malbec.
salta1Torrontés  – The only grape that is originally from Argentina. There are 3 different types of Torrontés: Torrontés Riojano – the most common, Torrontés Sanjuanino, and Torrontés Mendocino. Torrontés: is a crossing of Mission (originally reported as Criolla Chica) and Muscat of Alexandria. Criolla grape is more known as a grape for eating rather than making wine. It was thought for long that it is the same grape as Torrontés from Galicia, Spain but DNI tests showed no relations between those two grapes.

250px-Lage_von_Savoien_in_Europa_(Karte).svgBonarda – Also known as Douce noir, comes Savoie wine region of eastern France. It is now more widely grown in Argentina and can be found in California as Charbono. It was thought that Bonarda in Agrentina is Bonarda Piemonteseis from Italy but in 21st century it was proven to be wrong.

Syrah – From the southern part of France. It is not very windely grown in Argentina but is gaining more popularity. In Australia Syrah is called Shiraz so often people use both names.

Cabernet Sauvignon – comes from Bordeaux region, France. It is one of the worlds most grown grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon was born in 17th century as a crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon blanc. Argentine Cabernet Sauvignon has had some international attention because it was also planted in a higher altitudes in Uco Valley of the Mendoza Province and it is fairly new thing to do.

250px-Bourgogne_in_France.svgChardonnay – Comes from Burgundy wine region of eastern France. Modern DNA fingerprinting research at University of California, Davis, now suggests that Chardonnay is the result of a cross between the Pinot and Gouais blanc (Heunisch) grape varieties.

Merlot – It comes from a Bordeaux wine region in France. It was one of the first ones the primary grapes used in Bordeaux wines. In Argentina the wine is harvested later than is France and therefore the result is quite different. Instead of having a medium-bodied easy to drink wine in Argentina Merlot is often more full-bodied, intense and has a dark purple color.

Pinot Noir – Comes from Burgundy region, France but is very widely grown in California, Oregon, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. In Argentina less but you can find some example from Patagonia where the climate is more suitable for Pinot Noir.

220px-Iberian_map_europe.svgTempranillo – Spanish grape that has been grown on the Iberian Peninsula since the time of Phoenician settlements. It is very popular in Rioja, one of the most important wine regions in Spain. It is also very popular all around the world and so in Argentina.

Sangiovese – Red Italian wine grape that represents the Italian immigration to Argentina. It is not widely grown in Argentina and most of it is for export.

Picada

picadaI just looooooove cheese and cold cuts with my wine and Argentina has it’s own version. Picada is a plate full of different cheeses, meats, sausages, olives and nowadays some vegetables as well. The word “picada” comes from a Spanish verb “picar” which means to take small bites or snacks and it is very similar to the Italian antipasto, which makes a lot of sense because due to immigration Italian influence is very big in Argentina.

asadoPicada is often eaten before asado, Argentine barbecue, when people come to visit then picada is the first step, everybody have a snack, talk and socialize.

Generally picada has:

  • hard cheeses like Reggianito  reggiantio
  • semi-soft and soft cheeses like Pategras, Roquefort, Mozzarella, Provoleta, Chubut

roquepategrasmozzaprovo

  • different hams and cold cuts – Serrano ham, cooked ham, salami, chorizo, longaniza

chori ham1 longa  serrano

  • vegetables and fruits- olives, pickles, cherry tomatoes, grapes  olives
  • nuts  nueces
  • different breads, pizza sliced small, fugazzeta, crackers  fuga
  • sauces like criolla, cream cheese with spring onion or cream cheese with red onion  lacr
  • eggplants in oil and peppers, pepper in vinegar  escaajis
  • marinated hearts of palm  Heart_of_palm

Food can be cooked, salted, fried, cooked with steam, marinaded in vinegar, served with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.

Picada is served on a wooden tray or a plate. Traditional picada is eaten with hands and/or toothpicks are provided.
quilmes bona resTypical drink to go with all that food is light beer, white and red wine and soda. My personal favorite with picada is Bonarda, good Malbec and Syrah aged in oak. One amazing option is Bonarda Reserve from Familia Blanco. Bonarda is a traditional and second most grown grape after Malbec in Argentina. It comes from France but has been very popular in Argentina and is thought to put Argentina on the map with another great wine. This Bonarda Reserve has been aged 12 months on French oak barrels, you can feel red berries like cherries and plums. Notes of blackberries mix with toast and coffee that comes of aging in oak barrel. For those who like beer more then Quilmes is one of the most inexpensive brands but also one of the most popular beers amongst Argentines.

Chilean and Argentinian wines

map-argentina 300px-LocationChile.svg

Chile and Argentina are two New World countries, neighbors and known for their good wines. They are separated by the Andes mountains and influenced by similar climate conditions.

Argentina and Chile are both top wine producing countries, in 2013 Argentina was on a 5th place with producing 14,984 hectoliters per year and Chile on 6th with 12,800 hectoliters per year. 

200px-ROHM_D201_The_conquistadors_enter_tenochtitlan_to_the_sounds_of_martial_musicOn 16th century Spanish conquerors brought different vines to Chile and Argentina but bigger wine production in Chile started on mid-19th century when vines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère and Cabernet Franc were introduced and in Agrnetina when immigrants brought different varieties like Malbec, Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranillo and Torrontés from Italy, Spain and France. Quality of the Chilean wine changed in the early 1980s, when wine producers started using stainless steel, fermentation tanks and the use of oak barrels for aging. After that the wine export grew rapidly. Soon after that Argentina followed the same path, improving their wine quality and reaching out to foreign markets and wine experts. The main reason why Argentina followed Chile were the crises which caused the wine consumption to decrease in local markets. 

andesClimate and conditions

Chile:

  • Influenced by The Andes mountain to the east and the Pacific ocean on the west
  • Northern Chile is dry and warm as the southern part is more humid and cold
  • Vineyards get water from Andes melting ice caps and rivers
  • the latitudes of 32 and 38° s, comparable to Northern Africa and Southern Spain

Argentina:

  • Most wine regions are located in the western part of the country, next to the Andes Mountains between the Tropic of Capricorn to the north and the 40th parallel south
  • semi-arid desert-like, hot during the days104°F (40°C), cold at nights 50°F (10°C)
  • Northern wine regions like Salta temperatures fall to 0Cº during winter, Southern wine regions like Mendoza stay warm
  • High altitudes for growing grapes

argentina_wine_mapMost important wine regions

Chile:

  1. Atacama region
  2. Coquimbo region
  3. Aconcagua region
  4. Central Valley region

Argentina:

  1. Mendoza
  2. San Juan 
  3. La Rioja
  4. Salta
  5. Jujuy
  6. Catamarca

Most grown vines

Chile: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenèrem, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Sauvignon blanc and Sémillon.

Argentina: Malbec, Bonarda, Torrontés, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Semillon, Tempranillo, Tannat, Griolla Chica, Griolla Grande, Cereza.

Some differences between Chile and Argentina

  • Argentina has bigger variety of grapes 
  • Argentina is bigger by size and has different growing environments which makes it possible to grow different tyoe of vines
  • Chilean wines are more known abroad because they have been exporting for longer period
  • Argentine people drink more wine than Chilean per capita
  • Agrentine number 1 grape is Malbec, Chilean number one grape is Cabernet Sauvignon

 

200px-Dactylosphaera_vitifolii_1_meyers_1888_v13_p621Interesting facts

Chile:

  • Country has no phylloxera louse, it is an insect that live on grapevines and eat the roots
  • In the late 20th century when Chilean wines got more popular in foreign markets it turned out that vines thought to be Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc actually weren’t. Their qualities and lack of some characters made people doubt about the authenticity and after tests Merlot turned out to be Carménère, grape that was found in very few regions and Sauvignon Blanc turned out to be Sauvignonasse. 

Argentina:

  • The only original grape from Agrentina is Torrontés. Malbec, the flagship wine of Argentina comes actually from France.
  • Only 20 years ago most grown grape in Argentina was Bonarda, now it remains as number 2 after Malbec
  • Most high altitude vineyards in the world can be found in Salta, Argentina