When I was studying for the WSET Level 4 in Wines & Spirits, the Diploma, I decided to go on a trip to Argentina to explore the different regions of Mendoza. This region is sub-divided into many wine regions, with distinct microclimates and soils. Read on to learn more about my findings within the Mendoza sub-regions of Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley.
Maipu (not to be confused with Maipo, Chile) is very close to the city of Mendoza. Wineries such as Rutini, Trapiche, and Zuccardi have vineyards located in this region. Maipu is by far the warmest area in Mendoza and has the lowest elevation (700m) in the area. You can expect wines with more body and alcohol, powerful tannins, and very fruity in style.
All the wineries welcome tourists, and some have restaurants with magnificent views of the vineyards. If you visit Zuccardi/St. Julia, stop by Pan & Oliva where you can taste their delicious homemade olive oils.
Lujan de Cuyo
The wines made in Lujan de Cuyo especially in the districts of Las Compuertas, Vistalba, Agrelo, and Perdriel, are complex and have more acidity due to their high elevation (between 800 and 1,100m). Dona Paula is a very recognized producer in this area. In the past few years, they have invested a significant amount in the study of soils and plantings of different varietals.
Argentina is typically associated with Malbec, but varietal wines made with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are not uncommon nowadays. Bodegas Casarena is now bottling single-vineyard wines from Agrelo and Perdriel, as well as varietal wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. Enjoy a tasting at Casarena and have lunch overlooking the vineyards.
South of Mendoza, the Uco Valley has breathtaking views and premium wines. Vineyards and Bodegas lie literally on the foothills of the Andes with elevations up to 1,600m. Blue lakes, green vineyards, and the Andes are the typical view in sub-regions such as Tupungato, Gualtallary, and Tunuyan. Because of the altitude, the climate is cooler, with average temperatures of 14° C. The wines have high acidity and are intense and powerful on the palate.
Wineries such as Salentein, Clos de los Siete, Atamisque, O Fournier, and Catena Zapata have vineyards here, and the region is growing in popularity. The famous The Vines, a resort and winery, offers guests a chance to learn the art of winemaking and blending.
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