Malbec: the famous Mendoza wine
The warm and dry climate in the rain shadow of the Andes makes the Mendoza wine region an ideal area for growing red wines. The originally French red wine variety Malbec is the undisputed vine queen among the wines from Mendoza. The cultivation is complemented in many ways by varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay.
Mendoza wine with tradition since 1550
It is generally believed that the first Spanish missionaries arrived in what is now the wine region of Mendoza around 1550 and spread the cultural beverage of the Old World to the west of South America. Then as now, the region was characterized by warm to hot and especially dry summers.
Agriculture in any form is not possible here without artificial irrigation. Even before the arrival of the Europeans, the Incas had already created sophisticated canal systems in today's Mendoza wine region, from which viticulture could then benefit. The winters in Mendoza are cool, but thanks to the location around the 33rd latitude it is not so cold that the vines would freeze.
The French variety Malbec arrived in Mendoza in 1853. Today Malbec is considered the main red variety of the growing region. The lilac-black grapes find the ideal conditions in the dry, warm climate with around 300 days of sunshine per year to develop their complex, spicy aroma.
Wine from Mendoza: The quality arrow points clearly upwards
40 years ago, the area under vine in Mendoza reached a quantitative all-time high of 260,000 hectares. The light red variety Criolla Grande, which dominated at that time, probably originated from the very first vines in Argentina. Criolla Grande was and is cultivated almost exclusively for the domestic market and is not considered to be very competitive internationally.
While the total area under cultivation declined sharply in the 1980s and 1990s as a result of intensive grubbing-up, the stock of precious varieties such as Chardonnay, Merlot and, above all, Malbec continued to increase. This rising quality trend continues to this day and goes far beyond the selection of grape varieties.
An increasing change in awareness has led to a focus on the special features of the individual altitudes and the predominantly sandy, calcareous soils of Mendoza. The differences are so great that behind a single catchword like "Malbec from Mendoza" there is a whole world of exquisite red wines.
Another important indicator of the high quality of Mendoza wine is the widespread introduction of drip irrigation. It continuously releases the water in smallest doses. The result is an even and stress-free growth of the grapes.
Important subregions in the Mendoza wine region
Mendoza is divided into different subregions. The most important of those are:
- Lujan de Cuyo (southwest of Mendoza City)
- Valle de Uco (in the valley of the Tunuyán directly at the foot of the Andes)
- Maipu (southeast of Mendoza City)
- San Rafael (in the central south of the province of Mendoza)
Mendoza wine from the respective sub-regions
Lujan de Cuyo is the most important and most intensively developed wine region in Mendoza. Here, a large part of the cultivation of Malbec is concentrated at altitudes of about 650 to 1,100 meters. Agrelo, where Dieter Meier's winery has its vineyards, is also located in this wine growing area.
Dieter Meier is internationally known for his excellent Puro in organic quality. At VINELLO you will find a large selection of Puro wine from Dieter Meier, for example the Mendoza red wine Puro Malbec Cabernet and the Puro Corte d'Oro. Directly in the west of Lujan de Cuyo borders Maipu, the oldest wine-growing area in Argentina.
Besides Malbec, Merlot and Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon is cultivated on the clay soils of the area. San Rafael, located further south, is characterized by its special sense of tradition. Here, wines are still cultivated and produced in part in the same way as 100 years ago.
Valle de Uco - the versatile newcomer among Mendoza's wine valleys
Valle de Uco, in the central south of the Mendoza wine region, is the youngest of the major wine producing areas, apart from wine production for local consumption. Malbec, which occupies about 45% of the area under vines in Valle de Uco, has only been cultivated at altitudes between 900 and 1100 metres since the 1990s. The sun shines even more frequently here than in the other parts of Mendoza, with around 360 days.
The soils in the Valle de Uco are so different even in a very small area that sometimes even the wine of neighbouring rows reaches maturity at different times. To illustrate these variations: So far, 60 different soil types have been identified in Vale de Uco. If Mendoza connoisseurs consider Mendoza to be the epitome of diversity, then this diversity finds its crowning glory in the Valle de Uco.
Interesting facts about Mendoza
Which red wines are grown in the Mendoza wine region?
In addition to the main red variety Malbec, other varieties grown in Mendoza include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah (Shiraz) as well as Cabernet Franc, Bonarda and Pinot Noir.
Which white wine varieties are cultivated in the Mendoza wine region?
The most important white Mendoza wine is Chardonnay. There are also vineyards planted with Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Torrontes and Viognier.
What is the area under cultivation for wine in Mendoza?
In the Argentinean wine region of Mendoza, wine is currently cultivated on approximately 150,000 hectares.
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