This week I was lucky enough to travel down to Neuquén about 500km south of Mendoza. This is one of the few prosperous regions of Argentina as a result of oil and gas deposits. It is also famous for a large number of dinosaur fossils.
However, over the last 20 years Neuquén has also developed a wine industry, producing not only Malbec but also Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. Like Mendoza, it is east of the Andes although the mountains here are lower and the vineyards are not in the shadow of the mountains but some 200km east. Again, like Mendoza whilst there are rivers, the land is largely dry and irrigated either by the traditional canal system or by drip irrigation.
Whilst visiting I was lucky enough to taste wines from Humberto Canale and Familia Schroeder wines. I was particularly impressed by the Pinot Noirs from both whilst the Malbecs had a freshness that you do not always find in Mendoza, the Pinot Noirs had the finesse reminiscent of burgundy. In particular, the Familia Schroeder wines were very good.
As a result of the wines, tourism has developed. We had an excellent meal at Saurus, the restaurant at the Schroeder Bodega. The food was superb with each course being paired with a wine.