Aroma: powerful notes of jammy black fruit dominate, in addition to the plum and raisin characteristics typical of a ripe Malbec. After swilling the wine around the glass, new aromas of liquorice, vanilla and toasted caramel burst forth creating an exciting new complexity.
Taste: a great body and structure. Its best quality being the sheer volume of silky fruit coating the mouth, whereby notes of plums and raisins combine with those of black and morello cherry. Soft, sweet tannins give the wine a full body and a luscious complexity yielding to a staggeringly long and lingering finish.
Consumption suggestions: this wine can be drunk now or laid down for 10-15 years, whereby the concentrated fruit aromas will further evolve to new and exciting levels of intensity.
Terrazas de los Andes Winery
At the end of the 1950s, the famous French Champagne house, Moët & Chandon, realized there was an enormous potential for growth in South America. They sent their wine analyst, Renaud Poirier, to study the possibility of expansion. Monsieur Poirier finally proved that Luján de Cuyo, a region within the province of Mendoza, was the best place for the birth of fine wines. In 1960, Chandon Argentina was established, the first subsidiary of Moët & Chandon outside France.
To make the Terrazas de los Andes wines, Chandon Argentina took the initiative to restore this building, located in the heart of Perdriel and at the foot of the imposing Cordón del Plata (a section of the Andes Mountain Range).
In the past, Chandon Argentina made only sparkling and generic still wines, however at the beginning of the '90s fueled by a political system more orientated towards an international market, a varietal wines project was born, to which Terrazas has now become the reality. Situated in Perdriel there is an old Spanish style winery that was used by Pedro Domecq to create his brandy. Renaud Poirier asked Domecq if he could use his equipment to make the first experimental vintages, between 1957 and 1959. Thirty years later Terrazas de los Andes was born, a tributary of Chandon Argentina dedicated exclusively to the production of varietal wines.
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Now fifth in the world for wine production, Argentina is catching up in the quality wine sector. A long time wine producer, Argentina used to make wine in order to drink it, not export it. And so the wines produced were quaffable and rustic and made for the local's everyday dinner. Yet it's hard not to get caught up in the wine market of the world and some winemakers decided it was time for Argentina to show their stuff. Better winemaking technology was brought in, new winemaking techniques were learned and good viticulture practices flourished. The result? World-class wines with unique style and variety.
Unlike its Chilean neighbor, Argentina's vineyards are spread out around the country. The best known region is Mendoza, almost parallel to Santiago to the west. Mendoza contains the sub-regions of Maipu (pronounced MY-pu) and San Rafael. Grape-wise, the most important white is Chardonnay, making wine similar to California's style on the variety. Another fun white grape to try is Torrontes. Almost only grown in Argentina, Torrontes makes wines that are crisp, aromatic and easy-drinking. Some of the best versions of this wine come from the northern region of Salta, with very high altitude vineyards. As for the reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is the main grape for many wines leaving the country, but Malbec, the grape Argentinians like to call their own, makes very distinctive wines that are structured, dense and velvety. Many more varieties happily grow in the country, but for export, and consistent quality, these are the primary grapes.
Young, organically farmed Carmenère at Chile's De Martino estate vineyard
Chile & Argentina are the regions producing the most wine coming out of the continent. The wines from this area are good value with a distinctive taste. They create new world wines with old world character.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.