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Argentina

Argentina is today famous for it's wines from the Malbec grape variety, something that is most certainly in fashion these days. The most famous region here is that of Mendoza, lying in the foothills of the Andes mountains where the snow melts provide life-giving water to the vineyards.

With Argentina being a pretty large country, there are, of course many other regions that produce wine, but the majority of bottles you'll find here in the UK are without doubt from Mendoza.

The cool climate of Mendoza allows the grapes to ripen slowly and thus the resulting wines have great freshness, fine aromas and intense flavour. With good wine-making, the wines have excellent balance and are packed with dark fruit flavours. This is not peculiar to just the Malbec grape but other red garpe varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot also fare well.

Travelling further north to the Salta region, Aregentina's other flagship grape variety, Torrontes, works well thanks again to higher altitude vineyards. Being further north, you'd expect the diurnal temperatures to be higher but for every 1oo meters of altitude, the average daily temperature drops by about 1 degree C.

Going south, as you find in Chile too, the region of Patagonia is considerably cooler and malbec doesn't fare so well. More aromatic varieties such as Pinot Noir and some white varieties like Chardonnay are the mainstay of wine production.

All in all, Argentina is now one of the major players on the international wine scene and rightly so as not only is it the largest wine producer in South America but probably the best.  One thing to remember of course is that Malbec doesn't originate there but rather it eminates from France where it was used in Bordeaux but more recently has been rediscovered in areas such as Cahors. True the style is a little different but the wines can be equally as lip-smacking to drink.

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