San Juan, sits directly north of Mendoza, and with nearly 120,000 acres of grapes it ranks is Argentina’s second largest region in terms of acreage under vines. San Juan produces a lot of wine for domestic consumption, while premium wines and wines for export are produced largely in the Tulum Valley, where Syrah, Bonarda, Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are the leading red grapes. White grapes include Torrontés, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.
Mendoza, is the filet mignon of Argentine wine, just bigger and juicier. From Mendoza city (population about 450,000) to the east and then south through Tupungato toward the Uco Valley, Mendoza and its many delineated subzones is the bus that drives the Argentinean wine industry.
As we’ve stated several times, about eight in ten bottles of premium wine made in Argentina come from Mendoza, and total acreage dedicated to vines exceeds 400,000. There are literally hundreds of wineries in Mendoza, including some with names known around the world: Catena Zapata, Norton, Chandon, Lurton, Trapiche, Fabre Montmayou, and the list go on. In the mix are also dozens of smaller boutique wineries, some older and some quite new.
Amid all this, international winemakers and consultants began coming to Mendoza about ten years ago to make wine, help blend it, deliver advice and to earn a second paycheck. And very few have left, while dozens more have joined the frenzy. This has created a critical mass of talent and ideas in Mendoza, making it as cutting-edge as any wine region on earth.
Concurrently, Mendoza in recent years has been like a magnet for foreign investors, and it’s impossible to argue against the positive impact that the arrival of talent and money from France, Spain, Italy, Chile and the United States has caused. The wines of Mendoza today are ten times more consistent and refined than in the past, while names like Michel Rolland of France, Alberto Antonini of Italy and Paul Hobbs of the U.S. are just some of the most recognized names