Let’s put aside Malbec, just for 10 minutes…
As Argentina is a country made up of immigrants for the most part, it makes perfect sense that its grapes (excluding Torrontés) are also documented aliens. Take our dearly beloved Malbec. We all know it originates from Cahors in south-west France, don’t we?
That’s right, the Old World has had its hand in defining Argentina’s viniculture, thanks to big hitters Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and of course Malbec – from Salta in the north to Patagonia in the south. The aforementioned are some of the most well-known immigrant varietals in Argentina, but what about Italy’s Pinot Grigio or Germany’s Riesling, star grapes in their homeland but lesser known here: how do they fare in this Latin American terroir?
Pinot Grigio, Italy
If Pinot Grigio could speak, it would scream “drink me” given that it’s Italy’s most exported wine. Yet only a smattering of Argentine wineries produce it, despite this fresh and fruity, dry white number wooing the most tentative of wine drinkers. Revelling in warm days and cool nights in the Veneto and Friuli regions in Italy’s north-east, this versatile white also does splendidly in France’s Alsace, where it is known as Pinot Gris. While Veneto and Friuli produce light- to medium-bodied Pinot Grigio, Alsace’s colder climes lead to more aromatic, fuller-bodied Pinot Gris with high acidity and marked spiciness. One cépage, two names, two styles, and each crops up in two Argentine provinces: Mendoza and San Juan.
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