Argentina is an interesting place to drink wine. There’s an abundance of local products
that run the gamut of grapes, styles, and price points, but protectionist laws mean that
imports are very, very rare. This is great for local winemakers who only want to sell their
wines at home (up to 75% of Argentine wine is consumed in the country) but bad for
those wishing to experience the diversity of flavors and choice we in the U.S. take for
granted. A bottle of Billecart-Salmon that typically goes for $60 was listed at
approximately $200. It was the only foreign wine that I saw on a restaurant menu.
This results in a very unique winemaking scene. There are very pretty Rieslings,
especially coming from Luigi Bosca, who was the first to plant the variety in the 1970s
and is now reaping the rewards of older vines. There are beautiful Torrontes
(Argentina’s own white grape, which is a cross between Criolla x Muscat). My favorite
classic expression came from Bodega Trapiche in a bottling called “1945” which reflects
the age of the parral (pergola) trained grapes that grow in the high-elevation valleys of
Calchaqui. It was full of white pepper, honeysuckle, jasmine, and citrus zest with
refreshingly bracing acidity.
See some of my high favorite finds from my trip here.