South America

South American Wine Map

South American wines can be hard to quanitify as a single category.  By far the two main countries for winemaking are Argentina and Chile.  However in the U.S., Uruguay is starting to make some inroads.  Chile and Argentina share one big thing in common.  The spine of the Andes Mountains.  These mountains provided elevation, water, fog and breezes to the vineyards.  These factors as well as several microclimates make South America a great region for wine.  Argentina makes several grape varieties but by far their claim to fame is Malbec.  Grown in high elevation the grapes have ample sun to ripen and cool nights to get a nice slow, even growing season.  Dare I say, Argentinas Malbec is world class and even surpasses the French version.  Argentinas other native grape is Torrontes.  Crisp, dry, and exotic, this white is very unique and is a great quaffer with spicy dishes.

Chile is much more diverse in the style of wine it makes and started concentrating on the international market much earlier than Argentina.  Chile excels at several international varieties but has really made Carmenere their specialty.  Ripe, bold and dark ruby, Carmenere goes great with big dishes such as steak.  Chile also makes some excellent Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for whites.

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