01438 741177         thewinesociety.com

Argentina and Uruguay


#1

Currently sat in Montevideo airport (although for transparency that was when I started this piece!) reflecting on two years living in Argentina and Uruguay and thinking about my travels around the wine regions.
Argentina is a huge country with regions as diverse as the flat Pampa close to the Atlantic to the high, hot parts of Jujuy now producing wine in addition to the better known regions such as Mendoza (including the Uco Valley), Salta and San Juan. There are experiments with grapes, soils, fermentation container types and barrels taking place all over the country.

Vast and stunning architectural structures have developed out of rocky ground that not only host huge cellars but boast fine restaurants and offer classical concert venues some of the acoustics are just stunning .
The wines themselves are now as varied as the landscape in which they are produced. To the south, cool climate Pinot Noir and light Chardonnays are now being produced. In Mendoza they are developing individual wines based on terroir and beginning the process of naming local zones !(upload://cGdGo3pfG1vol2gtCNMzLK58nk6.jpeg) . Height and soil type are playing their part in that work - do also look out for Argentine Temprenillo - it has not caught on here but there are some excellent examples around.
In Salta, blends of red grapes grown at height but with exposure to pure sunlight are producing some fine wines. Salta also continues to produce the best Torrontes in my view .
For those that do not know, there are also ancient ruins in Salta just 30 mins or so from Cafayate dating back to the days of the Inca . Further north in Jujuy (with the backdrop of the Mountain of 7 colours ) in some of the highest vineyards in the world, Rhône varietals that can cope with the intense summer heat are being produced although the alcohol levels are often at the very top end for table wine. Some winemakers are starting to tame wines made in this savage but stunning environment.
Today, the Argentine producers (particularly small and medium sized) are struggling with the twin impact of high local inflation and a youth that has taken to Artisan beer. However, some excellent wine is being produced by some very creative wine makers and I rarely come across a poor bottle.
Uruguay was a real revelation to me when I arrived. I had always thought of Tannat as that grape making pretty tough wines in SW France. My view has completely changed now having tasted everything from roses and fine specimens fully of fruit. As for Argentina, lots of experimentation is going on although most of it being driven by the ‘very deep’ pockets of a few individuals - think Garzon whose bodega and fine restaurant are inland from Jose Ignacio .
I have also been particularly impressed by the pure Cabernet Francs and Petit Verdots (which compliment the local lamb dishes) being developed along with the white Albariño and Pinot Noir rose wines that go perfectly with the Atlantic caught seafood . Clearly modern winemaking techniques are playing a very large part in the revolution in Uruguay.
As you can see from the photos I have uploaded, this is a stunning part of the World and I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to live here at the moment. Unfortunately, I suspect that you see very few of the superb wines produced here in the UK because of the high cost of logistics (that is one element where Argentina is still stuck in the 1970s) and cost of production .


Mendoza & The Uco Valley Vineyards & Wine Tourism Suggestions
#2

What an amazing post and fantastic pictures. So jealous, it’s part of the world I’ve always wanted to visit…one day I will. Thanks for sharing, it’s given me inspiration for wines to add to my basket.


#3

Thank you. We feel very lucky to be working here at the moment. Yes, loads of good wine to select from.


#4

Great travelogue. Lucky you!


#5

Wonderful post, thank you. Very envious! I have an Argentine friend here in the UK who’s just started trying to import Argentinian wines from off the beaten track for wholesale distribution. Early days, but hopeful it will be a raging success. His greatest obstacle so far has been the need for various byzantine intermediaries who insert themselves into the process, levy a heavy tax, and do little to actually move things forward… but sometimes that’s just the nature of things in Latin America.


#6

Hi Cormski
My recommendation is that your friend make contact with the Trade team in the British Embassy. Many of the people you refer to do not necessarily need to be part of the process! The Embassy helps businesses navigate through that maze.