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Mendoza remains the most important wine producing area of Argentina by far. It is an oasis in a desert area of the foothills of the Andes, fed by a series of water channels from the Mendoza river, which brings water into the high altitude, low rainfall areas from the towering Andes. The fine, round tannins, crisp acidity and ripe fruit which result from these conditions typify the region’s exemplary wines.
Argentina has a colourful winemaking history. Vines were first planted in the sixteenth century by Spanish settlers to produce wines for communion. Some years later the nation’s signature variety Malbec was introduced from South West France and the fleshy, plummy Bonarda grape from Italy’s Piemonte. Like its Mediterranean cousins, Argentina’s wine styles have developed in line with its cuisine. Rich, fruity, Malbecs and Malbec blends offer a perfect accompaniment in a country famous for its hearty steaks, from cattle reared in the Pampas, hundreds of miles of vast plains stretching to the Atlantic coast. The distinctively aromatic and floral native Torrontés, and crisp, herbaceous Sauvignons are equally fit to accompany the country’s seafood and citrus-infused ceviches and tiraditos.