Argentinian Wine

Argentina is one of the most important wine-producing countries in the New World, and the largest producer of wine in South America. The high altitude deserts of the eastern Andes mountains have given rise to a high quality wine industry. Indeed, the terroir here is well suited to Argentina's adopted grape variety, the ubiquitous Malbec which is now responsible for some of Argentina's most famous wines. Argentine Malbec is characteristically bright and intense, with floral notes and flavors of dark fruit.
Wine-Searcher editorial  ·  Last updated 24-Jan-2022
Mountains and vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina

Covering just over one million square miles (2.8 million sq km), Argentina is the second-largest country in South America. It stretches from the southern border of Bolivia in the north to the southern tip of the continent.

It is home to a vast array of landscapes, from the rocky peaks of the Andes in the west to the fertile Pampas lowlands in the east. Most viticulture in Argentina takes place in the foothills of the Andes.

Of its wine regions, Mendoza is, without doubt, the largest and best-known in the country, often producing great wines to ciritcal acclaim. Here, desert landscapes and high altitudes combine to make a terroir that gives rise to aromatic, intensely flavored reds.

Vineyards in the Mendoza region reach as high as 1,500m (5,000ft) above sea level. Here, increased levels of solar radiation and a high diurnal temperature variation make for a long, slow ripening period, leading to balanced sugars and acidity in the grapes.

Three-quarters of Argentinian wine production takes place in Mendoza with Mendoza Malbec accounting for 85 percent of the Malbec made in the country.

In addition to its flagship grape, Argentina boasts significant plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Bonarda. More recent additions can be found with wines including Cabernet Franc and the more hispanic Tempranillo.

Mendoza's position in the rain shadow of the Andes means that there is little rainfall, and irrigation is effectively supplied by Andean meltwater.

Further north, the regions of Salta and Catamarca are even higher. A world-topping vineyard owned by Bodega Colomé in Molinos sits at 3000m (9,900ft) – higher than the peak of Mount St. Helens in the Pacific Northwest of America.

Low latitudes in this corner of Argentina – which, at 22°N to 28°N, are considerably closer to the Equator than any European wine region – are tempered by the high altitude and cold mountain air. Here, Argentina's signature aromatic white grape, Torrontés, is grown, making an pungent, intensely floral, white wine.

There are also some wine producing regions in Argentina closer to the Atlantic coast than to the lofty peaks of the Andes. Patagonia, in the south of the country, is now home to two regions: Rio Negro and Neuquen, the cooler conditions of which are suited to creating wines made from Pinot Noir.

Argentina has a long viticultural tradition, and wines have been made here since the 1500s – initially by Spanish missionaries, and later by Italian settlers. Until very recently, Argentinian wines were exclusively domestic, based mostly on the high-yielding Criolla Grande and Cereza grape varieties.

However, over the past 20 years, the country's wine producers have raised quality levels and successfully consolidated an international export market. Argentina has risen to become the fifth most-prominent wine producing country in the world, following France, Italy, Spain and the USA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fernet-Branca and coca-cola is a widely popular cocktail in Argentina that has been described as "the country's unofficial national drink". Argentina is the largest consumer of Fernet worldwide despite the herbal liquer originating in Milan, Italy. Often known as a Fernando or Fernandito the long-drink is a combination of sweet, minty, hebaceous and slighty bitter.

Mendoza Malbec is by far the most popular regional style of wine produced in Argentina in terms of both notoriety and volume. The high altitude in combination with the dry climate of Mendoza creates ideal terroir for Malbec to develop cherry, casis and plum-like properties with silky integrated tannins

Popular producers of Mendoza Malbec include Catena Zapata, Casa Montes Ampakama and Luca. 

Although both important varieties of the ubiquitous Bordeaux-blend, Malbec and Merlot are two distinct grape varieties. Generally speaking Malbec tends to be more meaty and textually tannic whilst Merlot is often added to blends to soften the wine thanks to its high ratio of pulp to skin and seeds. As varietal wines, both share organoleptic properties of plum-like characteristics. 

Genetically speaking, Merlot and Malbec share a parent variety in Magdeleine Noire Des Charentes. 

Red wines similar in quality to Mendoza Malbec would include French Malbec which has slightly darker, earthier tones and greener notes. Another red grape variety commonly grown in Argentina is Bonarda which produces bright, fruit-forward wines with a focus on dark fruit like black cherry and plum along with nuanced spice notes not dissimilar to Malbec.

Dolcetto can also exude similar qualities to Malbec, as can cool-climate Syrah which has similar dark fruit as well as a similar medium-bodied, moderately tannic nature. Like Dolcetto, Nero d'Avola can also be a good alternative.
Argentinian Wines
Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Product
 
Grape
Popularity
Critics' Score
Avg. Price
Wine Label of Catena Zapata 'Nicolas Catena Zapata', Mendoza, Argentina
402nd in popularity
2,266,243
93 / 100
Wine Label of Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino, Uco Valley, Argentina
438th in popularity
2,449,992
93 / 100
Wine Label of Terrazas de Los Andes 'Cheval des Andes', Mendoza, Argentina
484th in popularity
2,143,743
93 / 100
Wine Label of Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard 'River Stones' Malbec, Gualtallary, Argentina
764th in popularity
4,226,237
95 / 100
Wine Label of Bodega Aleanna 'Gran Enemigo' Gualtallary Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Tupungato, Argentina
932nd in popularity
2,235,618
94 / 100
Wine Label of Catena Zapata 'Catena' Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
1,164th in popularity
428,749
89 / 100
Wine Label of Huarpe Winery 'Agrelo Terroir' Malbec - Cabernet Sauvignon, Agrelo, Argentina
1,192nd in popularity
428,749
88 / 100
Wine Label of Catena Zapata 'Catena Alta' Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina
1,207th in popularity
1,041,247
91 / 100
Wine Label of Catena Zapata 'Angelica Zapata Alta' Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
1,305th in popularity
1,194,371
91 / 100
Wine Label of Trapiche Iscay Malbec - Cabernet Franc, Mendoza, Argentina
1,474th in popularity
1,255,621
92 / 100
Wine Label of Ruca Malen 'Aime' Red Blend, Mendoza, Argentina
1,490th in popularity
122,500
Wine Label of Bodega Chacra 'Treinta y Dos 32' Pinot Noir, Rio Negro, Argentina
1,600th in popularity
2,541,867
92 / 100
Wine Label of Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyards Malbec, La Consulta, Argentina
1,651st in popularity
2,051,868
93 / 100
Wine Label of Clos de los Siete by Michel Rolland, Vista Flores, Argentina
1,709th in popularity
459,374
89 / 100
Wine Label of Bodegas Caro 'Caro', Mendoza, Argentina
1,739th in popularity
1,316,871
91 / 100
Wine Label of Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard 'Fortuna Terrae' Malbec, Gualtallary, Argentina
1,969th in popularity
2,572,492
94 / 100
Wine Label of Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard 'White Bones' Chardonnay, Gualtallary, Argentina
2,003rd in popularity
2,603,117
94 / 100
Wine Label of Bodega Aleanna 'El Enemigo' Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina
2,030th in popularity
581,873
90 / 100
Wine Label of Bodega Aleanna 'El Enemigo' Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
2,138th in popularity
581,873
91 / 100
Wine Label of Catena Zapata Estiba Reservada, Agrelo, Argentina
2,336th in popularity
19,538,688
93 / 100
Wine Label of Catena Zapata 'Catena Alta' Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
2,339th in popularity
1,071,872
92 / 100
Wine Label of Bodega Chacra 'Cincuenta y Cinco 55' Pinot Noir, Rio Negro, Argentina
2,404th in popularity
1,286,246
91 / 100
Wine Label of Luca Malbec, Uco Valley, Argentina
2,481st in popularity
734,998
91 / 100
Wine Label of Vina Cobos 'Cobos' Marchiori Estate Malbec, Perdriel, Argentina
2,519th in popularity
4,869,359
93 / 100
Wine Label of Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard 'White Stones' Chardonnay, Gualtallary, Argentina
2,551st in popularity
2,419,367
93 / 100
Only the first 20 pages shown
To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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