Argentina wines usually conjure images of mountain vineyards, full-bodied Malbecs from Mendoza or crisp Torrontés whites from Cafayate, but further south is a less well-known region making waves in the wine world.
Patagonia – South America’s southernmost wine-making region – is a vast area stretched across Argentina and Chile that is more commonly associated with dinosaur fossil finds and glaciers than fine wines.
Viticulture in the arid Patagonia wine region has only been made possible courtesy of two rivers – the Neuquén and Rio Negro – that irrigate the vineyards with meltwater descending from the nearby Andes mountains.
Despite being at a lower altitude than the likes of Mendoza, the cool, dry climate warmed by ‘Zonda’ winds and a difference between night and day temperatures lend themselves to the production of elegant red wines, especially Pinot Noir and Malbec varietals.
Patagonia wines exhibit great personality with exceptionally striking colours, expressive flavours, intense aromas and great acidity.
The Patagonia wine region may be waging a constant war with the elements, but the area is gaining an international reputation for wine produced from its northern edge at the more established Rio Negro and still developing Nequén vineyards.
Wines from these two sub-regions are traditionally more European in style than those from the north. The ubiquitous Malbec still plays a part, but it is Pinot Noir that takes the leading role for reds from the Patagonia wine region – while Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling are favoured for white wines.
At the turn of the century, the world’s newest wine region was established in Neuquén by planting 5,000 acres of Patagonia with grape vines. The five wineries in the region, which is surrounded by the Limay and Neuquén rivers, now produce more premium wine than the rest of Patagonia combined.
All five wineries are closely clustered together on the north side of the Neuquén river, 37 miles north west of the capital city of the same name, making wine tours to the region simple.
The convergence of the Limay and Neuquén rivers forms the Rio Negro, creating three agricultural zones as it descends southwards to the Atlantic Ocean: the Alto Valle (high valley), Valle Medio (middle valley) and Valle Inferior (lower valley).
Most vineyards are found in the higher Alto Valle zone, which is also scattered with apple and pear plantations. The elevation of the valley is unusually low for vineyards in Argentina, but the region produces elegant styles of Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Malbec.
Our Argentinian local experts can arrange exclusive tours of the Patagonia wine region, including vineyard visits, private tastings, luxury accommodation and unique experiences.
Among these is a private tour of the region – including the Rio Negro, Neuquén, La Pampa and Chubut valleys – where visitors are given the opportunity to explore the vineyards and wineries, meet the owners and sample some of the region’s most revered wines.
To truly experience the natural beauty and untamed wildernessof Patagonia by land and water, a tour of the Aysen region allows visitors to spend over a week hiking, rafting and cruising through Chile. Attractions on the incredible tour include Condor bird watching, trekking through beautiful national parks, watching glaciers from a speedboat, rafting white water rapids and exploring caves.
All of the experiences featured on Wine Paths can be tailor-made to your exact requirements, ensuring every detail is taken care of before you arrive.
Visit our Argentina destination page for more inspiration and start planning an experience like no other in the Patagonia region.
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