Mendoza is the wine city of Argentina. It's here where you'll find more than 500 wineries producing the majority of wine from the country.
Let's learn more about how to identify which Mendoza wineries fit your palate so you can explore the complete list.
Firstly, Mendoza is quite large. The region can be divided into several areas with different traits:
This area is lower elevation – so most of us can expect softer, fruity expressions of Malbec. There are spots close to the river with more clay which results in richer, textured expressions of bold red wines including Malbec and Bonarda.
Still, you shouldn't totally overlook this area, it's also home to some of the oldest vineyards in the region. So for the explorer, this is a great place to hunt for value and rare varieties.
The Argentinian epicenter wine, also referred to as the "Primera Zona," complete with epic estates, and elaborate bodegas. Central Mendoza includes Maipú, Luján de Cuyo, and the winery strip in Agrelo where you'll find many of Argentina's most famous bodegas.
In terms of style, it's a mix. There are hot spots for great quality and super special old vineyards. Plus, the wineries here source grapes from all over Mendoza, so it's easy to do well.
Valle de Uco
The Uco Valley is the rugged West of Mendoza. Dusty vineyards go almost as far as the eye can see. And, it's pretty desolate. Still, this is the location that's received the highest accolades for Malbec and other Argentine wines.
What makes Uco special is the high altitude. The grapes grow differently when forced to deal with greater UV exposure and thus, produce more color in the wines. The result is some of the most elegant-yet-structured reds on the face of the planet.
Of course, it matters where you are in the valley as it's quite large. In the North, you'll find Tupungato, which has a different soil composition to the areas like Tunuyán or San Carlos towards the south.
San Rafael is one of the least-talked-about-yet-surprising areas in Mendoza. It's located about 150 miles south of Mendoza city in river valleys at a much lower elevation than the rest of Mendoza's vineyards.
Given the association with elevation and quality, it would seem like San Rafael fails to make the grade. However, the region's rich clay-sand soils produce rich round, soft textures in the Malbec and other red wines. It's also a great spot to look for whites including rarities like Chenin Blanc, Sémillon, and Chardonnay.