This article is a preparation for WSET Diploma Unit 5. It’s about sparkling wines from Argentina.
Location, climate & soils
The majority of the sparkling wine made in the Argentina comes from the higher altitude vineyards in Mendoza, like Uco Valley and Lujan de Cuyo. Too high can increase the risk of sunburn, the intensity of the sunlight can be too much for growing grapes for sparkling wine. Therefore, producers are going south – the climate of Patagonia is well-suited to grow chardonnay and pinot noir.
The most popular grapes for sparkling wine are semillon, chenin blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir. Torrontés is sometimes used to produce tank method sparkling wine.
Both tank method and traditional method are used. For traditional method, it is often necessary to blend different vineyards to obtain the optimal balance between fruit and acidity. There are no minimum ageing requirements, but most producers will age the wines for a period of at least 12 months.
Styles and production
Bodegas Chandon (Moet & Chandon) built its first winery outside France in Argentina in 1960s. Now, they are market leader in sparkling wines.
All styles are being made, but extra brut is the most popular style. It’s mostly white, there’s not much sparkling rosé made in Argentine. Having said that, Torres recently launched a traditional method sparkling wine made of the local variety red país. This is a sparkling rosé.
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Sources & suggested reading:
Tom Stevenson & Essi Avalan – The World Encyclopedia of Champagne & Sparkling Wines