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South American Wines: Argentina and Chile Presented by Alphonse DiMino Wine Director Passport Wine and Spirits.

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Presentation on theme: "South American Wines: Argentina and Chile Presented by Alphonse DiMino Wine Director Passport Wine and Spirits."— Presentation transcript:

1 South American Wines: Argentina and Chile Presented by Alphonse DiMino Wine Director Passport Wine and Spirits

2 Argentinean Wine History The history of Argentinean wine begins with the Spanish missionaries in the 1500s. As in other parts of the world, they brought winemaking techniques and vine cuttings with them so that they would be able to produce sacramental wine for masses. One historical account: Spanish conquistador Francisco de Caravantes brings vines from Mexico to Peru.Vines arrive in Argentina via Peru and later from Chile. First grapes not suitable for fine winemaking: Criolla grapes of Spanish origin (also known as Pais in Chile and Mission in California) Jesuits found the foothills of the Andes to have the perfect soil and weather conditions

3 Immigrants contribution to wine industry The nineteenth century later saw an influx of European immigrants who brought new cultivation techniques and other grape varieties. –First Malbec vine stocks introduced into Argentina about 1860. –At the same time, French agronomist Michel Aimé Pouget arrived in Mendoza, introducing French varieties of higher enological quality –The 1880s brought Italian engineer Cesar Cipolletti to standardize the irrigation network in Mendoza –Italian, Spanish, and French immigrants fled war and poverty to settle in Argentina, bringing their know-how and skills to viticulture and vinification

4 Argentina Geography Argentina is located east of the Andes Mountain range in the South American continent and is a country of some 2.8 million square kilometers (almost 5 times the size of France). 3,100 miles of coastline Borders: Bolivia,Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay Mostly temperate climate; arid in southeast; sub- Antarctic in southwest

5 The Argentine vineyards lie between the Southern Latitude parallels of 22 - 42 where a desert climate produces arid growing conditions.

6 Interesting Factoids In 2005, Argentina's total plantings produced 2.7 billion kilograms of wine grapes. That weight yielded a total wine production of 1.5 billion liters, of which 1.1 billion was produced in Mendoza. There were nearly 26,000 vineyards registered in Argentina in 2005. The total area of vineyards in Argentina has grown from 210,000 hectares in 1995 to 213,000 hectares in 2005. Argentina is the third largest consumer of wine in the world and the fifth largest wine producer.

7 Argentinean Viticulture A very unique feature of Argentinean viticulture is that vineyards enjoy an average altitude of 2,700 ft; much higher than elsewhere in the winemaking world. Altitude is important as much of Argentina is flat, arid and can be too hot to grow grapes. –In this high altitude desert, vines grow between 2,300-7,800 ft. –Sandy soils tend to fend off phylloxera even when it does take hold; some new wineries are on grafted rootstock –But soil is not the magic that creates Argentina’s intense wines…. It is the altitude: intense sunlight + cold nights (diurnal swing) + dry mountain air –However, all is not paradise, in low altitude vineyards around Mendoza, rain can be concentrated during the growing season and can fall as hail; also can be too hot here

8 More Viticulture Poor soils; little organic matter; fast decomposition from little rainfall Well-defined winters Hot summers Ample sunshine Few diseases Not much wind, except in Patagonia Rainfall is less than 8 in/annum, but abundant snow in the mountains allows irrigation from the rivers of melted snow as and when required Soils are combo of sand and some calcareous but lack of organic matter restricts vigorous vine growth

9 More Viticulture A key advantage in Argentina's bid to produce world- class wines is the fact that more than 50% of the vines in these plantings are over 25 years old, and only 5% are less than 4 years old. A large proportion (25%) of the vines are between 4 and 8 years old – a result of the widespread moves at that point to rip out volume varieties that were occupying prime sites and replace them with 'premium' varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and (of course) more Malbec. This was a calculated investment in the future direction of the Argentine wine industry, and it is paying off.


11 Red Grape Production Malbec 21,200 [10,500] Bonarda 17,200 [12,200] Cabernet Sauvignon 16,200 [2,300] Syrah 10,800 [700] Merlot 7,100 [1,200] Tempranillo 5,600 [5,700] Pinot Noir (Pinot Negro) 1,200 [200] Barbera 900 [1000] Cabernet Franc 300 [<100]

12 White Grape Production Torrontés 8,000 [8,600] Chardonnay 4,800 [900] Chenin Blanc 3,100 [4,000] Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano) 2,600 [2,200] Semillon 1,000 [1,300] Sauvignon Blanc 1,200 [300] Sauvignonasse (Sauvignon Vert)700 [1000] Riesling 100 [300]

13 The Viticulture Regions of Argentina The majority of vineyards are located in the provinces of Mendoza and San Juan, (over 90% of Argentine wine) Other promising provinces/main varieties: –Salta and Catamarca Conditions here facilitate the production of deep, full-bodied reds based on Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. However, the most notable grape of the region would be the white Torrontés. Other varieties cultivated in this area are Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc,Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah. –La Rioja: Torrontés, Syrah The region has alluvial soils which are typical of ancient valleys and the altitudes in this territory are relatively high; between 2,600 and 4,600 ft (800 and 1,400 meters). Because of these factors, La Rioja is considered to produce some of the finest examples of Torrontés wines in the country. –San Juan: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay –Patagonia: Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Syrah.

14 Main Varietal Characteristics Malbec –Black Cherries, Plums –Milk Chocolates, Mocha, Ceder, Clove, Tobacco, Spices –Juicy, Soft Tannins Cabernet Sauvignon –In the North-west of the country, Cabernet Sauvignon gets astonishing color intensity and aromas, which remind you of blackberries and green pepper. –Within Cuyo (Northern Medoza) this wine varietal gets fruitier, with ripe cherry hints; while in the south of the country aromas get more intense, developing mineral and earthy bouquets. Barrel and bottle ageing lend a particular elegance, with tobacco, leather and spices aromas.

15 Bonarda –It gives a candid, full-bodied and colorful wine, with fruity aromas and subtle aniseed-flavored hints. It can be successfully barrel aged thanks to its good structure. Torrontés –Fragrant and unmistakable aroma, resembling roses, jasmine and geranium, with occasional spicy essences. –Torrontes produces a unique symbiosis with spicy food and Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai dishes. Chardonnay –Chardonnay is very much appreciated due to its capacity of reaching a proper maturation and producing a wide range of wine styles, from sparkling to full bodied and barrel aged wines, including fresh and elegant Chardonnays. Its primary descriptors are tropical fruits and apples.


17 Mendoza Mendoza produces more than 80% of Argentina’s wine and its wine geography can be divided into three major oases: North, Central and South. Each of these areas has its own particular location, altitude and soil composition. On the whole, Malbec is the most characteristic variety in the region and is emblematic of the country. The wine produced stands out for its ruby color with purplish nuances, its fruity flavors and soft mouthfeel.

18 Northern Medoza NORTHERN MENDOZA Departments/Regions (Districts) –Las Heras –Lavalle –Guaymallén –San Martín –Rivadavia –Santa Rosa –La Paz –Luján de Cuyo (Agrelo) Prime Zone –Maipú (Lunlunta) Prime Zone The ecological characteristics of this region favor the production of white, young, aromatic wines, as well as fruity red wines for short-term consumption.

19 Central Mendoza Departments/Regions (Districts) –Tupungato (La Gualtallary) –Tunuyán –San Carlos (La Consulta) Both white and red varieties do well here, however, the best wines are produced from grape varieties that have short ripening cycles, especially Chardonnay, Semillon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. This also applies, in some cases, to Malbec and Tempranillo. The climatic characteristics of the region produce wines that have high levels of acidity, thus making them good bases for sparkling wines.

20 SOUTHERN MENDOZA Departments/Regions (Districts) –San Rafael –General Alvear The Denomination of Origin (DOC) San Rafael was issued in 1993. Grape varieties grown here include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Tocai Friulano, Semillon, Torrontés, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Barbera and Bonarda.


22 Chile

23 Chile Chile stretches almost 3,000 miles from the Atacama Desert in the north to the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego in the south. Never once in this vast stretch of distance does the country span more than 220 miles in width. The key factor for vineyards in Chile is their isolation, sandwiched between the cold Andes and the cold Pacific –No phylloxera=ungrafted rootstocks The wine lands of Chile are located in the center of the country, stretching 250 miles north and 350 miles south of the capital city of Santiago. Chile’s fine wine production lies in the heart of this lengthy expanse in the Aconcagua and Central Valleys.

24 Chilean Wine History Chilean winemaking began in the 1500’s with the arrival of Spanish missionaries. As was typical, they brought with them vine cuttings of a grape which is today still known as País. In the 1830’s naturalist and scientist Claudio Gay brought the first vitis vinifera to Chile. –Some 60 varieties were brought from France to the Quinta Normal—part of what is now the University of Chile.

25 Chilean Climate and Viticulture The vines lie between 32-38 degrees south latitude in an area that is ideal for grape growing. Weather patterns are significantly influenced by the Pacific Ocean and its cold Humboldt Current. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 90° F, and humidity is low. The climate is Mediterranean; therefore little rain falls during the growing season. Annual precipitation is winter dominant.

26 Key Chilean Grape Varieties Sauvignon Blanc –In Chile, this white wine grape is grown predominantly north and west of Santiago in clayey soil and on sunny north slopes. It is descended from the French Loire (Sancerre) and enjoys international popularity as being an excellent white wine. The wine delivers flavors of gooseberry and hay; wine coming from a warm location is ideal for barrique storage. Cabernet Sauvignon –In Chile, Cabernet has been cultivated for about 150 years being planted on its own rootstocks. A warm climate, small crops and ripe grapes provide an excellent basic material. Fruity, concentrated, rich in tannin, flavor of black currants, in Chile a distinctive eucalyptus flavor. Merlot –In Chile, it ranks second of the most important “primary” red grape varieties. In high-yielding seasons, the grape-vine produces rather simple table wines. All in all, it has a smoother taste and a less intense flavor than that of Cabernet Sauvignon.

27 Carmenère –The Carmenère grape has become a national symbol of Chilean wines. Originally coming from the French region Médoc, it was almost wiped out by the vine pest in the 19th century in Europe. Long mistaken for Merlot, its true identity was revealed by a French oenologist who found remainders of the primary Carmenère-vine. Since that time, Carmenère is produced in the wineries near and south of Santiago on a large scale. Red, of fruity spicy flavor. Its tannin levels are not as high as those of Cabernet Sauvignon, turning the Carmenère into a light, compatible wine. This wine should be consumed while young. Syrah –The consistent climate of Chile provides favorable conditions for growing this grape. Dark colored, ripe dark fruit, black currant on the nose and high tannin levels. These wines will age for long periods. Pinot Noir –Variety favors the warm sun and lean, permeable, chalky soils of Chile´s Central Valley. This variety brings forth silky-smooth harmonic wines of fruity flavors and low tannin levels.

28 Chilean Wine Regions There are five principal wine regions in Chile that are further divided into smaller sub-regions and zones of production. Atacama (Table grapes and Bulk Wine) –Copiapo Valley –Huasco Valley

29 Aconcagua –Aconcaqua Errazuriz is biggest producer –Casablanca Before pioneering winemakers on Casablanca Valley paved the way for white winemaking, no one could conceive of anything but red wine production in Chile. Its proximity to the Pacific Ocean and its cooling morning fogs, this region has become known for crisp and fruity white wines—the Chilean equivalent of California’s Carneros AVA. Chardonnay does particularly well and accounts for almost half of the overall vineyard area. Other favorites are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère.


31 –San Antonio Valley (up and coming) Located just 2.5 miles from the Pacific coastline,lack of water is a regular problem which makes irrigation necessary. Like Casablanca, cool-climate whites and reds thrive here, and wines are marked by zesty acidity and minerality. Chardonnay dominates production, but grapes Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc also express themselves beautifully. The caliber of wine coming out of this region has marked this one of Chile’s hot spots, despite the cool temperatures!


33 Central Valley –Maipo Valley Hottest and most cultivated area know for Cabs and Carmenere –Rapel Valley Colchagua spans almost the entire width of Chile, but the majority of the vineyards are nestled in warmer pockets near the snaky path of the Tinguiririca River, located in the interior. Here the growing conditions are perfect for the reds for which Chile is best known: Cabernet, Merlot, Carmenère,Syrah and even Malbec. However, growers are trending towards cooler climate grapes planted at elevations or pockets closer to the Pacific, so the region may redefine itself in the future. Apalta is located in Colchaqua –Curico Valley Chardonnay –Maule Valley It is the oldest winemaking region in Chile, with some vines almost 200 years old, and yet it is also one of the most innovative and modern in winemaking techniques. Noble Cabernet is almost matched in production by highyielding white grape País. It is the largest region in Chile and yet harbors the most small-holdings. Many of these small vineyard holdings are dry-farmed (without irrigation) or organically grown.


35 Southern Chile (Jug and bulk wine) –Itata Valley –Bio-Bio Valley




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