Santiago Achával, Matervini and Malbec wine
Santiago Achával

It’s often said that it’s your second or even your third business that is the winner; the one that you get right, because you can apply all you’ve learned along the way. So when Stolichnaya vodka owners SPI Group bought the renowned Mendoza winery Achával-Ferrer, the question was what were the men who had founded and built this winery going to do next? Two of them, Santiago Achával, who also owns a small winery in California, and Italian-born Roberto Cipresso, who has a number of ventures in his home country, decided to invest all that experience in starting up a new winery together: Matervini. And they chose to locate it within spitting distance of their former venture in Luján de Cuyo. But they didn’t just set out to replicate their former business; instead they took three very significant strategic decisions.


The first was to make the new winery as environmentally-friendly as possible. Matervini is self-sufficient in hot water from photovoltaic panels and in solar electricity – in fact it even injects electricity into the national grid. The winery recycles its grey water for irrigating the gardens and also composts its organic waste, taking care to get a good mix that can enrich the soil. They use intervine planting during winter – grass where they want to reduce vine vigour or barley or rye where they want to add nutrients to the soil. These crops are ploughed back into the soil around the time the vines begin to flower.

In autumn, the climbers die back, revealing the murals on the winery walls

Meanwhile, some thought has gone into the winery building design. Close to the building are wire panels, which in spring and summer are covered with deciduous or annual climbing plants to give shade, reducing the need for air conditioning. In autumn, the leaves fall or the annual plants die back, leaving the panels bare and revealing the murals on the walls behind. The weaker sunshine of autumn and winter reaches the building, helping raise temperatures inside.

Wine club

The second decision was to take a business model that is far more common in the United States than in South America: the wine club. Instead of looking to market their wines to retailers or through distributors, Matervini sells them directly to the public, offering worldwide shipping and deals for members. The winery – like Kingston Family Vineyards in Chile’s Casablanca Valley – ships wine to its base in the United States, facilitating onward shipment to its base of customers there.

Matervini and MalbecMatervini and Malbec, Malbec and more Malbec

The third decision was to make Matervini a Malbec project. We had the good fortune to taste the wines with Santiago himself and hear first-hand how each was made. Exuding calm self-confidence and genial good humour, he told us that Matervini’s strategy is to make great Malbec wines, each one unique because it expresses the place it comes from.

“I get tired of journalists asking me the same question: ‘What’s next after Malbec?’ I always reply ‘More Malbec!’

His argument, teemed with the wines we tasted, was pretty compelling. We tasted 6 different Matervini Malbec wines, all but one from 2014. Each had been made in the same way and, according to Santiago, the only differentiating factor was that each was from a different place. And he was right, as you can see from the tasting notes below, each of them was quite different.

Matervini and Malbec winesPrecordillera

Santiago became especially enthusiastic when talking about planting in the Precordillera area, a mountain chain parallel to but lower than the Andes. He explained that this is especially interesting because of the benefits of growing at altitude and also because the soils come predominantly from one type of stone rather than being a broad mix of different types of rock. He feels this gives each wine a greater chance of expressing its origin.

His latest project has been to plant three plots totalling 20 hectares in the Precordillera. One has east-facing slopes of fractured basalt with 2mm of limestone on top and the first wines have been produced from these vines. The other two plots, which are not yet producing wine, are an east-west-facing hillside with friable limestone that is 40-50 million years old in thin vertical layers with oxidation on one side oxidising; and a north-facing slope of hard grey limestone encrusted with silica magnesium from the deep seabed 450 million years ago, when the continents were still joined up.

“I believe that the wines from these plots are going to be the ones that really make the winery,” he concluded. He may well be right.

Tasting notes

Tinto, Chacayes 2014.

This wine comes from a high altitude area of the Uco Valley in Mendoza.

This wine was medium ruby in colour with a pleasant nose of fresh black plums and floral notes. The wine was dry and well-balanced with medium levels of tannins, body, acidity and alcohol and a medium finish.  Very pleasant.

AntesAndes Valle de Canota 2014.

This wine comes from Las Heras, the foot of Villavicencio in the Pre-cordillera,

This wine had a particularly floral nose, very pleasant. The tannins were finer and better integrated than in the Tinto from Chacayes. The wine had fresh acidity, some mineral notes in the mouth and medium body. A very elegant style of Malbec.

AntesAndes Valles Calchaquíes 2014

This is another wine from the Pre-cordillera range, beetween Cafayate and Molinos in Salta in northern Argentina.  The vines are planted at an altitude of 2400 metres.

The nose of this wine was different again, with forest floor and mineral notes. The wine had more body and acidity and chewy tannins. Lots of fresh fruit flavours in the mouth and a long finish.

Alteza 2013 (the only wine in the tasting not from 2014).

This wine is also from the Pre-cordillera area in northern Argentina at a place called Yacochuya in the Cafayate area of Salta. The vineyards is planted at 2200 metres above sea level and so, as is the case with Calchaquíes, the cooler temperatures at altitude compensate for the northerly latitude, which might otherwise make the climate too warm for producing quality wines.

There is an unusual aspect to the winemaking for Alteza. In a bid to control the spread of pests and diseases, there are strict controls over moving fruit from one province to another in Argentina and so it is not possible to transport grapes from Salta to Mendoza. However, Matervini doesn’t have winemaking facilities in Salta, so they needed to find a way around the problem. The solution they came up with is novel. It is fine for the winery to transport grape must. So, the grapes are put into small, 1000-litre stainless steel tanks, which are put into a refrigerated truck and transported at a low temperature. And the driver and winemaker make the journey slowly from Salta, stopping every three hours to manually punch down the cap of grape skins that have floated to the top of each tank. This is a novel type of cold soak, allowing the colour and tannins to seep from the skins into the must prior to fermentation at the winery.

This wine was deeper in colour. The nose was more subtle but particularly floral with notes of violets, as well as the characteristic black plum aromas of Malbec. This was a bigger wine, with more body and higher acidity than the previous examples. The tannins were medium and fine. Pleasant plum fruit and mineral flavours and a fairly long finish.

Finca 2014

This wine comes from the Perdriel área of Luján de Cuyo in Mendoza where the winery is based. It is made from grapes from very old vines (80 or more years), sometimes with a small batch of wine from newer vines blended in.

This wine was medium ruby in colour. A fairly pronounced nose featuring notes from the oak ageing, like vanilla and cinnamon, as well as black plums. This medium-bodied wine had medium acidity and medium, velvety tannins. It featured black and red fruit and some spicy flavours from the oak.

Viñas Viejas 2014

Very limited edition – 200 bottles produced. This wine was made from grapes in Matervini’s new Precordillera plot.

A beautiful wine with a mineral nose teemed with the biscuity, toasty notes from the barrel-ageing. In the mouth, it was medium-bodied, with fresh acidity, tooth-coating tannins and a long finish.

More information:

Musing on Mendoza, Malbec and age

The lowdown on the Mendoza wine region

The rich fruitiness of Malbec wine

Matervini website

Malbec vinesIt may be a traditional French variety, but it is Argentina that has really put Malbec wine on the shopping list of red wine lovers in recent years. Malbec has come into its own in the warm climate of Argentina, where it can ripen fully, making richly comforting, fruity red wines that pair well with a whole range of foods, from barbecued beef through to cheesy vegetarian bakes. Malbec’s other stronghold is Cahors in South-West France. Meanwhile Chile, inspired by its neighbour’s success, has also begun to produce some excellent examples. So what is Malbec wine all about?

Looking inside a glass of Malbec wineThe colour can range from moderate ruby through to deep, inky purple. In fact, its full-on purple hue is one of the ways to tell it apart from other red wines, like Merlot.

Ripe Malbec naturally tends to be very fruity, with aromas covering the whole berry spectrum from red fruit like raspberries, through blueberries to rich black fruit, like blackberries, black cherries, currants, raisins and plums. Rich, ripe plum is one of the most common descriptors for Malbec from Argentina. The fruit can be almost jammy if it is from an area with a very warm climate and ripens just that tiny bit too long. From cooler plots, such as those at a higher altitude, or when the grapes are harvested at a lower ripeness level, the aromas will tend to be more of fresh, ripe fruit.

Glass of Malbec wineIts fruitiness can, however, be modified by the use of oak. The more traditional styles of Malbec in Argentina tend to use lots and lots of oak. Using oak gives a Malbec wine complexity, smooth, rich body and soft, velvety tannins. Oak barrels that have already been used one or more times add fewer or even no aromas and flavours. But when the oak is new, it also gives the wine aromas like toast, vanilla, baking spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and even smoke or dark chocolate. Sometimes these oak-derived aromas and flavours can dominate over the natural fruitiness of the grapes.  This depends very much on the style the winemaker is looking for and you can now find a whole spectrum of Malbec wine styles – from the fruity explosion of wines that have seen little or no oak, through delightfully complex examples where the fruit and oak are nicely balanced right through to those where all you can discern is the oak.

Lots and lots of Malbec vines

Where the Malbec grapes have been grown at higher altitude, they can have a more floral, delicate fruitiness, which is very elegant.  Many argue that Malbec is also good at expressing terroir, and so the aromas and flavours will differ according to the soil. In my upcoming post about the Matervini winery, I’ll be looking at just how Malbec can vary from one place to another.

Malbec is generally a dry wine with medium to medium+ tannins that are ripe and velvety. The acidity is also normally in the medium to medium+ region; rarely higher and this, together with the tannin levels, makes this a softer, easier-drinking wine than many Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Alcohol, however, can range from medium+ to high. The wine can be quite full-bodied and, if it has seen a lot of oak, it may have that cigarbox texture that makes your mouth feel completely dry. The finish can be medium to long.

In short, Malbec wine is a lovely, easy-to-drink, fruity and aromatic wine that is food-friendly and comforting. I’ve tasted a range of Malbec wines from Argentina and Chile to bring you a range of tasting notes.

Argentine Malbec wine tasting notes

Mendel Malbec wineMendel Malbec 2015, Luján de Cuyo in Mendoza, 14.5% ABV

From 87-year old vines at a site at an altitude of 980 metres in the Mayor Drummond area of Luján de Cuyo. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks with daily punch-downs, followed by 12 months’ ageing in oak barrels – 33% of them new, 33% second use and 33% third use.

This wine was a deep purple colour. The nose was very pleasant and complex. The first layer of aromas are from all that oak: notes of toast, vanilla, cloves, smoke and leather. Next came the fruit: very ripe black plums, black cherries and blueberries. This was a dry wine with medium+ acidity, medium+, fine, ripe and well-integrated tannins and high alcohol. In the mouth, it was full-bodied with that cigarbox drying sensation and flavours of spices like cinnamon, together with all those fruity flavours of plums, black cherries and blueberries. Medium + finish. A very pleasant, well-balanced Malbec, worthy of some further ageing.


Catena La Consulta Malbec 2015, La Consulta in the Uco Valley, Mendoza, 13% ABV

This wine comes from a vineyard at an altitude of 1095m. After fermentation, the wine was aged for 12 months in oak barrels, 35% of them new.

This wine was deep purple in colour. It had a pronounced nose of plums, with some floral notes (violets), together with some cinnamon and nutmeg from the oak-ageing. The wine was dry, with medium, fine tannins, medium acidity, medium body, medium alcohol, and medium flavour intensity, revealing flavours of black plums and blackcurrants. The finish was medium +. This was a softer, less intense wine than the Mendel, but had a delicious floral and fruity elegance.

Kondor Malbec wineKondor Malbec 2013, La Consulta in the Uco Valley, Mendoza, 15.3% ABV

There is little information available about this wine and I was unable to find a website for it. The label revealed that the grapes were grown at 1200 metres above sea level.

This wine was a deep ruby colour. The nose was very fruity and delicious, with very ripe plums, blueberries, raspberries and cherries together with that subtle violet aroma. There was also a hint of spice (cinnamon and nutmeg) indicating oak-ageing. The wine was dry and full-bodied, with fairly pronounced tannins, medium+ acidity and high alcohol with medium+ flavours of rich, ripe fruit, dark chocolate and coffee. The finish was medium+. A very delicious, fruit-forward Malbec wine.

Malbec winesLuigi Bosca La Linda Private Selection Old Vines, Malbec 2014, 13.7% ABV

This is a blend made from grapes from different plots at an average altitude of 960 metres in Luján de Cuyo and Maipú, Mendoza. The vines are an average of 30 years old. The fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks, then 50% of the wine was aged for 8 months in second-use American oak barrels.

This wine was a medium+ ruby in colour with some earthy, terracotta hues. The nose was medium and revealed the fruit first: black plums, black cherries and blueberries. Then came a more subtle layer of aromas from the oak-ageing: toast, vanilla, cinnamon and leather. This wine was dry with medium+, grippy tannins, medium acidity and medium body. The mouth was moderate in intensity with black fruit flavours again apparent (plums, blueberries, blackberries). The finish was medium. This was an easy-drinking but less concentrated style of Malbec wine.


Chilean Malbec wine tasting notes

Koyle Royale Malbec 2011, Alto Colchagua, 14.5% ABV

Deep purple color. Pronounced, fruit-forward wine with plums, blueberries, black cherries. Subtle spicy note (cinnamon and leather). This was a dry wine with medium+ ripe, fine tannins and medium+ acidity. Full-bodied, with high alcohol and good flavour intensity. Lots of dark fruit flavours, a cigarbox texture some of those oaky flavours of cinnamon and leather.  A very rich, comforting wine, great for accompanying a hearty, full-flavoured meal – red meat or vegetable bake au gratin.

Loma Larga Malbec wineLoma Larga Malbec 2011, Casablanca Valley, 14% ABV

This wine was a deep purple colour. The medium+ nose revealed a whole basket full of delicious ripe fruit aromas – black plums, blueberries, raspberries, even a touch of prune and a subtle hint of olive. There was a faint floral hint and some herbal notes of liquorice and mint. The oak aromas were slightly more in the background: vanilla, cinnamon, smoke, cedar and tobacco. This was a dry wine with medium+, ripe tannins, medium+ acidity and high alcohol. This full-bodied wine had lots of juicy fruit flavours in the mouth and a medium finish. A very pleasant, concentrated wine that achieved good balance between the fruit and the oak. Versatile for pairing with a range of flavourful dishes.

More information about Argentina and Argentine wines:

Musing on Mendoza, Malbec and age

The lowdown on the Mendoza wine region

More information about the wineries featured:



Luigi Bosca


Loma Larga

Mendoza wine and view
Mendoza wine region at its best: great wine, sunshine and a beautiful view

Responsible for 70% of the wine made in the world’s 6th biggest wine-producing country, Mendoza is unsurprisingly Argentina’s most emblematic wine region. What’s all the more remarkable is that this is an area in a semi-desert with insufficient rainfall to keep vines alive. So why is Mendoza such a powerhouse of wine production? 

Like most historical wine regions, Mendoza’s wine story began with the arrival of the Catholic church and its success hinged on its strategic location.

History and strategic location

It seems that vine material was brought via different routes into Argentina during the 16th century and, as elsewhere in South America, it was missionaries and monks who were responsible for planting the first vineyards and sowing the seeds of Argentina’s wine industry. And it was the Jesuit missionaries who discovered that the grapevines prospered most in the foothills of the Andes, in regions that included Mendoza.

map of South AmericaBefore the arrival of the Spanish colonists, the native population had built a network of irrigation canals to bring meltwater from the Andes  and the new settlers made use of these canals to irrigate the vines and other crops, making them viable in an area that would otherwise have been too dry.

Thanks to its strategic location, just across the Andes mountains from Chile’s capital city, Santiago, Mendoza was ideally placed for trade with the neighbouring country. And so its wine industry began to flourish and soon became an important economic activity. Both secular families and the church produced wine, which was transported east to Buenos Aires and other Argentine cities, north to Bolivia and west to Chile.

However, the real boom for Mendoza’s wine industry came with the building of the railway connecting it to Buenos Aires in 1885, together with the arrival of new waves of immigrants, many from wine-producing areas in Europe, who brought their own vines and winemaking expertise. It is thanks to their contribution that Argentina produces such a diverse range of wines today.

Mendoza wine region in figures

  • Area under vine: 159,137 hectares (2013, OIV)
  • Latitude: between 32.9° and 33.2° degrees South
  • Altitude: up to 1,700 metres above sea level
  • Highest temperature in summer:29°C.
  • Thermal amplitude: 14°C.
  • Annual rainfall: 200 mm.(Source: Wines of Argentina)


The climate is continental with four defined seasons. Summers are warm with temperatures in some areas even reaching 40°C, while in winter they can plummet below freezing. I was there in early autumn and, as you can see from the photo, the vines were turning beautiful shades of yellow.

Autumnal vines in Mendoza
Autumnal vines at Salentein winery in the Uco Valley

All sunshine and warmth

In warm, sunny areas like much of Mendoza province, grapes tend to ripen quickly. They accumulate lots of sugar in a relatively short time and, if not picked soon enough, begin to lose acidity. What does this mean? Well, there are two knock-on effects.

Firstly, it is the acidity that makes a wine fresh and gives it zing. A wine with low acidity can seem flabby and boring.

Secondly, it is the sugar in the grape juice that is converted into alcohol during the alcoholic fermentation. So the more sugar that has accumulated in the grapes, the higher the level of alcohol the wine will have. This is why wines from warm regions like Barossa in Australia or Mendoza in Argentina often have high levels of alcohol – they were made from very ripe grapes with high levels of sugar.

Mendoza grapesIt’s quite hard for producers in such warm areas to obtain grapes that have just the right levels of sugar and acidity, while ensuring that the flavours and aromas have developed.

This is what Martin Kaiser at Doña Paula  says about climate and the wines of Argentina:

“Most of the vineyards planted in our country are located between the warm and hot categories (Winkler IV and V). In warm weather conditions the temperatures never become a limiting factor for the grapes to reach a good level of maturity. This means that our wines are characterized for presenting a great fruity expression, being generally soft in mouth, with sweet tannins and very low average acidity levels.”

So, in recent years, producers in Mendoza- and elsewhere in Argentina – have been experimenting with altitude. Why? Because it’s cooler higher up. In fact, some of the higher areas in Mendoza fall into Winkler category III or even II. And at altitude, there is often a big difference between the temperatures in the day and those at night (known as thermal amplitude). All in all, if you plant your grapevines at a higher altitude, the grapes will ripen more slowly, enabling their aromas and flavours to develop fully, while ensuring that the sugar accumulation and acidity loss happen slowly. The result is fresher wines with higher acidity, potentially lower alcohol, and lots of ripe fruit and herbal aromas and flavours instead of jammy ones.


Whether on the plain or in the mountains, water is an issue. As in most of Argentina, Mendoza’s vineyards are located in the rain shadow of the Andes mountains – most of the prevailing winds come from the west and lose their moisture in Chile or crossing the mountains. So rainfall in the Mendoza area averages 200mm per year, not enough for a vine.

Traditionally, plenty of meltwater came down from the Andes mountains every spring to enable flood irrigation via canals. Argentine grape growers long supported flood irrigation as they believed that it helped stop the spread of the devastating vine-killing grub phylloxera. However, recent research has shown that this is not the case, as is detailed in this article by Julia Harding.

As in Chile, in the face of the harsh reality of receding glaciers, lower snowfall in winter and increased demand for water for industrial, agricultural and residential use, growers are having to consider reducing their water use.  It was clear during my visit that many producers are switching over to drip irrigation, as shown in this photo from the Mendel winery.

Drip irrigation at Mendel winery

Weather-related problems

The Mendoza wine region is often affected by tremendous hailstorms, which can decimate a crop. The seriousness of this problem was more than evident in the widescale use of netting, as shown in the photo. As I understand it, putting netting on growing vines is an awkward, expensive and time-consuming business, so you have to be really worried about potential damage to go to the trouble.

Mendoza: netting to protect vines from hail
Netting to protect the vines from hail at ReNacer winery

The Zonda wind that blows hot and strong in late spring and early summer can also affect flowering. Together with spring frosts, it can seriously affect the amount of grapes harvested, because if flowers are lost to frost or wind, there are fewer left to be transformed into grapes.

To give you an idea of how great an impact the weather can have on yields, in 2014, Argentina produced 15.2 million hectolitres (hl or 100 litres), while in the cool, wet conditions of 2016, production was down to just 9.4 million hl. In 2017, spring frosts did a fair amount of damage and yields this year are also expected to be down on the average level. Otherwise this has been a hotter than normal year on both sides of the Andes, resulting in earlier harvesting.

Getting down to earth

The soils are mainly alluvial, ie carried there by river flows a long, long time ago. They tend to be poor and free-draining, with stones, sand, lime, silt and some clay but not very much organic matter. Vines the world over thrive in such poor, well-drained soils. However, producers in Mendoza are no longer satisfied with just planting anywhere and are getting into the minutae of geology in search of soils that might bring an extra dimension to their wines. This is leading them to dig soil pits and do extensive surveys of the soil profiles in different areas, particularly in search of calcareous (limestone) soils formed millennia ago when the Andes mountains of today were actually part of the seabed.

Check out this excellent article by Martin Kaiser at Doña Paula, explaining what calcareous soils are, how they are formed and why they are of such interest to wine producers.

I’ll be coming back soon to the topic of geology, climate and terroir and how they influence wine style in a post about the Matervini winery.


Most vines are still planted on their own roots in Argentina. However, this is gradually changing, mainly because of the problems with nematodes – nasty, fast-reproducing roundworms in the soil that damage vines by eating their roots and can also spread other diseases. To combat this problem, many new vineyards are being planted with vines grafted onto nematode-resistant rootstocks.

The old-style pergola plantings are rapidly giving way to vines trained along wire systems, mainly vsp (vertical shoot positioning) as you can see in the photo.

Mendoza: trained vines at Salentein

This style of training makes it easy to control the amount of leaves in the canopy and thus create the best conditions for the clusters of grapes to ripen correctly, without fungal problems, uneven ripening or sunburn.

The warm, dry weather that is normal in Mendoza reduces the risk of fungal diseases.

Grape varieties

Black varieties: Black varieties account for around 50% of the winegrapes grown in Argentina. Malbec is, of course, the star and I will be coverering this in a post soon. Mendoza also produces some excellent Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Bonarda and Tempranillo.

White varieties: Around 25% of all the vines grown in Argentina are white varieties. Mendoza particularly produces Chardonnay, Pedro Giménez, Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Chenin Blanc.

Pink varieties: Pink varieties are in decline but still account for some 25% of Argentina’s plantings. They consist of Criolla chica (that ubiquitous grape that is known as País in Chile, Mission in California and Listón Prieto in Spain) and Cereza (a cross between Criolla chica and Muscat of Alexandria).

Mendoza: stainless steel tanks
Stainless steel tanks at Salentein winery


Recent decades have seen significant change and modernization in Argentine wineries. This is partly because domestic wine consumption has fallen, meaning that producers have had to become more competitive in order to enter overseas markets and, as a result, 25% of Argentina’s wine production now goes to export.

Also companies and individuals from overseas have spotted the potential of Argentina’s wine industry and invested time, money and expertise in the country. Salentein in the Uco Valley is Dutch-owned, for instance.


Many wineries are now emphasizing quality over quantity in their quest for competitive edge.

This means lower yields in the vineyards, care over the timing of harvest, rigorous selection of the grapes and a more meticulous and controlled winemaking process.

Looking inside an epoxy-lined concrete tank

Many wineries have switched to stainless steel – though epoxy-lined concrete tanks remain common – and some have invested in the ultra trendy concrete eggs in the quest to produce wines that offer something different.

Wine producers have traditionally protected themselves against weather-related losses by having different plots of lands in different areas and blending their wines, but more single-vineyard wines are now being made.

Where a bottle label states the variety, the wine must consist of at least 85% of that variety. For blends, any variety listed on the label must account for at least 20% of the blend.

A Reserva white or rosé wine must have at least six months ageing and a red Reserva 12 months, while Gran Reserva wines have twice as much ageing. Traditionally winemakers have used a lot of oak when ageing their wines – especially new French oak barrels, which gives the wines lots of aromas and flavours of toast and spices like cinnamon. This is still apparent, but there is also a move to produce fresher, more fruit-forward wines, with much less or even no oak influence.

Map of MendozaMendoza wine sub regions

Upper Mendoza River, including Luján de Cuyo and Maipú.

These areas are a little higher up (800 – 1100 masl) and have a cooler mean temperature. There are many vineyards here with a long tradition of quality winemaking, though the Uco Valley has taken over the limelight recently.  I will be reporting on visits to three wineries in Luján de Cuyo: Mendel, Matervini and ReNacer.

The Uco Valley

This area is the one drawing all the attention, as detailed in an excellent article by Amanda Barnes.

So what IS so special about Uco? Well, the vineyards are located at altitude – 1,000m to 1600m above sea level – and, as discussed earlier, this makes for slower ripening. In fact, some areas in Uco are cool enough to be classed as II on the Winkler Scale. The combination of cooler weather, constant breezes, thermal amplitude, and very poor soils is making for some very exciting wines with plenty of body but high acidity. In a forthcoming post, I’ll write about my visit to the Salentein winery, a rather surreal site in the midst of a vast, open plain.

North and East Mendoza

These are low-lying, warm regions that produce lots of high-volume, entry-level wines, as well as some of superior quality.

South Mendoza, including San Rafael and General Alvear

This is a large area with a range of different terroirs and wines.

Malbec wines

More on Mendoza

Musing on Mendoza, Malbec and age

How Cabernet Sauvignon wine is made

The rich fruitiness of Malbec wine

Visit reports to wineries in Mendoza – coming soon

Sources of information:

Robinson, J., 2015. The Oxford Companion to Wine. 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wines of Argentina

Around the world in 80 harvests

Calcareous origins

Argentine Wine’s identity