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The World of Argentinian Wine

August 13th, 2014

Argentina is a South American powerhouse in wine – the fifth largest wine country in the world! Over the past 10-15 years Argentina’s wine market has changed drastically. Back in 2000, Argentina’s winemakers focused on quantity rather than quality. Over the past 15 years, however, more investment has been poured into Argentina’s wine production than in the 50 years prior. This investment, coming alongside expertise from places like France, California, and even neighboring Chile, is making Argentinian wine something to be excited about. Argentinian wine exports to the U.S. has tripled since 2002, and is growing as more and more wine makers make wine for export. There is still room for growth, however, as 90% of wine made in Argentina stays for local consumption.

Malbec’s success story has risen the importance of the Mendoza region in the red wine world. Mendoza produces over 2/3 of the wine from Argentina, and the Malbec grape is the highest percentage of that wine production. Malbec is a smooth, easy-drinking grape with rich, sometimes spicy, and dense fruity flavors. This lends it to be very popular and palate-friendly.

In 1993, the Mendoza sub region of Lujan de Cuyo was the first controlled appellation established in Mendoza. This is a high altitude wine region with great quality wines, and still often at great budget prices. The wineries in Mendoza require a lot of irrigation, as there are only 8 inches of rainfall per year in Argentina, but much water comes from melted snowcaps in the Andes every spring and summer.

Wine production and exportation struggled during the political turmoil and military dictatorships on the political level in Argentina from the 1960s – 1980s, but we can all be glad that Argentinian winemakers persevered and now bring fabulous wines to our shelves, and your home!

Sauvignon Blanc

August 2nd, 2014

What is it about Sauvignon Blanc? Why do we love it so?

Maybe because it’s so completely versatile, distinct, and refreshing!

  • Originated in France, though now grown in almost every major wine region in the world
  • Sauvignon Blanc is a young and acidic grape generally meant for early consumption while fresh & bright…
  • however, in rare cases (mostly Bordeaux Blancs from the Graves region) Sauvignon Blanc can be aged for up to 30 years!
  • Dessert wines like Sauternes use Sauvignon Blanc as a major component and are also incredibly ageable
  • Sometimes in California, Sauvignon Blanc when produced in a dry style is called Fumé Blanc. This was a made up name, now legally accepted as a synonym for Sauvignon Blanc. The name is derived from Pouilly-Fumé, one of the most popular dry-style Loire Valley wines made from Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Sauvignon Blanc takes on the characteristics of both the land it’s grown in and the wine maker who cultivates it.  While it is almost always acidic and carries citrus notes, the region heavily determines the outcome of the wine.

New Zealand, for example, produces very grassy, grapefruit driven Sauvignon Blanc with intense zip while California leans towards a softer fruit experience and more weight on the palate.

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