Argentina & Chile

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAArgentina is the largest producer of wine in South America.  They produce about the same amount of wine as the United States produces.  The favorite grape of the region is the Malbec variety.  This variety came from France, where it is used for blending.  In Argentina it is used both as a varietal as well as for blending.  Argentina has also imported Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from France.  While Argentina is most well known for its red wines, it also grows Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, and several types of sparkling wines.

wine-regions-of-chileArgentina grows many grapes other than the French varieties.  One of the popular Argentinean grapes is Criolla, which was popular in California in the 1800s, where it was known as the Mission grape.  Argentina also has a wide range of Italian grapes, brought there by Italian immigrants.  These include Barbera, Lambrusco, Sangiovese, and Nebbiolo.  Argentina has a good climate for any grape that flourishes in the cool arid climate found at higher elevations.

Chile has an exceptional climate for wine, and yet its wine was nearly unknown before 1980.  This is in a large part due to the combination of a lack of effective marketing and political instability.    Even though Chilean wine was only recently “discovered,” many French varietals have been flourishing in Chile for quite a long time.  Chile is also known for its red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  And Chile produces some credible whites, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Riesling.

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