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Mendoza Wine

Mendoza is by far the largest wine region in Argentina. Located on a high-altitude plateau at the edge of the Andes Mountains, the province is responsible for roughly 70 percent of the country's annual wine production. The French grape variety Malbec has its New World home in the vineyards of Mendoza, producing red wines of great concentration and intensity.

The province lies on the western edge of Argentina, across the Andes Mountains from Chile. While the province is large (it covers a similar area to the state of New York), its viticultural land is clustered mainly in the northern part, just south of Mendoza City. Here, the regions of Lujan de Cuyo, Maipu and the Uco Valley are home to some of the biggest names in Argentinean wine.

Vineyards and mountains in Mendoza

Mendoza's winemaking history is nearly as old as the colonial history of Argentina itself. The first vines were planted by priests of the Catholic Church's Jesuit order in the mid-16th Century, borrowing agricultural techniques from the Incas and Huarpes, who had occupied the land before them. Malbec was introduced around this time by a French agronomist, Miguel Aimé Pouget.

In the 1800s, Spanish and Italian immigrants flooded into Mendoza to escape the ravages of the phylloxera louse that was devastating vineyards in Europe at the time. A boom in wine production came in 1885, when a railway line was completed between Mendoza and the country's capital city, Buenos Aires, providing a cheaper, easier way of sending wines out of the region. For most of the 20th Century, the Argentinean wine industry focused almost entirely on the domestic market, and it is only in the past 25 years that a push toward quality has led to the wines of Mendoza gracing restaurant lists the world over.

Altitude is one of the most important characteristics of the terroir in Mendoza. The strip of vineyard land that runs along the base of the Andes lies between 2600ft and 3900ft (800m-1200m) above sea level, and it is this altitude that moderates the hot, dry climate of the region. Warm, sunny days are followed by nights made much colder by westerly winds from the Andes. This cooling-off period slows ripening, extending the growing season and contributing rich, ripe flavors to the grapes that do not come at the expense of acidity.

Irrigation is facilitated by the rivers that cross the region, including the Mendoza itself, which runs down from the mountains. Warm, dry harvest periods mean that winemakers are able to pick their grapes according to ripeness, rather than being ruled by the vagaries of the weather. As with other New World countries, this leads to a reduction in vintage variation, as well as consistent quality from year to year. Predictable harvests also afford Mendoza's winemakers the luxury of increased control over the styles of wine they produce – a factor which has contributed to the region's international reputation.

The soils in Mendoza are Andean in origin and have been deposited over thousands of years by the region's rivers. These rocky, sandy soils have little organic matter and are free-draining, making them dry and low in fertility. This kind of soil is perfect for viticulture – vines are forced to work hard for hydration and nutrients, and will produce small, concentrated berries in lieu of leafy foliage. The wines produced from grapes grown on these soils are often highly structured, with firm tannins, and have a distinct minerality that is often attributed to the soil.

The city of Mendoza has become one of the world's wine capitals, and enjoys a significant slice of South America's wine-tourism industry, helped along by the natural beauty of the area. The Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (National Harvest Festival) that is held in March to celebrate the harvest is one of the key events in Mendoza's calendar.

While Malbec is undoubtedly the star of the region, there are also extensive plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah, Torrontes and Sauvignon Blanc.

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Here are some wines produced in this region and all sub-regions, only the first 500 will be shown.
Wine Name
Catena Zapata 'Catena' Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina Malbec $18 267
Catena Zapata 'Nicolas Catena Zapata', Mendoza, Argentina Cabernet Sauvignon - Malbec $105 466
J. Opi a.k.a Rodolfo Sadler Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina Malbec $11 574
Trapiche Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina Malbec $6 608
Cheval des Andes, Mendoza, Argentina Bordeaux Blend Red $79 687
Casa Bianchi New Age White, Mendoza, Argentina Rare White Blend $10 772
Luigi Bosca Malbec, Lujan de Cuyo, Argentina Malbec $18 814
Bodega Norton Reserva Malbec, Lujan de Cuyo, Argentina Malbec $15 959
Catena 'Alamos' Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina Malbec $10 977
Dona Paula Estate Malbec, Ugarteche, Argentina Malbec $13 1081
Bodega Norton Privada Red, Lujan de Cuyo, Argentina Bordeaux Blend Red $22 1123
Renacer Punto Final Reserva Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina Malbec $18 1161
Bodegas Caro 'Amancaya' Gran Reserva Malbec - Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina Cabernet Sauvignon - Malbec $18 1163
Catena Zapata 'Catena Alta Malbec', Mendoza, Argentina Malbec $47 1237
Trivento Reserve Malbec, Lujan de Cuyo, Argentina Malbec $10 1338
Catena Zapata 'Angelica Zapata Malbec Alta', Mendoza, Argentina Malbec $91 1349
Andean Vineyards 'Alma Andina' Reserve Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina Malbec $15 1391
Gouguenheim Valle Escondido Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina Malbec $10 1433
Vina Cobos 'Cobos' Malbec, Perdriel, Argentina Malbec $171 1436
Bodegas Caro 'Caro' Cosecha, Mendoza, Argentina Cabernet Sauvignon - Malbec $52 1572
Terrazas de los Andes Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina Malbec $13 1591
Allegrini & Renacer Enamore, Mendoza, Argentina Bordeaux Blend Red $27 1593
Vina Montes Kaiken Reserva Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina Malbec $11 1718
Pascual Toso Malbec, Maipu, Argentina Malbec $10 1722
Antigal 1 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina Malbec $15 1785
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