Wine plays an important role in the global enogastronomic market, and South American countries and their vineyards continue to gain fans around the world
Whether to celebrate a special date, raise a glass among friends and family, or simply accompany lunch or dinner, wine is an important part of daily life for many people around the world. Outside of Europe, one of the main regions for producing excellent wines is South America, with particular emphasis on Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. Let’s check out what they have to offer.
Argentina is renowned for its red wine as most of the grapes produced in the country are the darkest. Many of them originally came from France and have long since adapted to the Argentine climate. The most famous is Malbec, which produces a smooth, velvety wine with intense fruity flavours.
Due to Argentina’s overly dry climate, vineyards rely on manmade irrigation. The upside is that it is great for preventing pests and other soil related problems. To by-pass the challenges of an arid climate, many of the vineyards are located near the Andes Mountains, where melting snow-caps provide sufficient water and nutrients.
Other famed grapes are Pinot Noir, also from France; Bonarda or Douce Noir, quite common; Tempranillo or Aragonez, from Spain; and Argentina’s best-known white grape, Torrontés.
The Brazilian wine market is growing rapidly, especially in the southern states. The region is celebrated for its red wine and sparkling wines, many of which have already received critical acclaim on the international scene.
The Merlot grape is the most cultivated in Brazil, and the cooler climate in the South results in a variety of grape with a slightly acidic taste. This distinction, along with the naturally fertile soils found in the region, is one of the principal drivers for Brazil’s recent success in the international market.
Chile is perhaps the principal producer of wine in Latin America. Geography plays a significant role here as the lands between the Andes Mountain range and the ocean provide the perfect altitude and ideal climate for producing quality grapes.
The star of the show is Carménère, which until recently used to get confused with Merlot. Most grapes in the country are used to make red wines, such as Carménère and Cabernet Sauvignon, or even Pinot Noir. White grapes are used to make the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc varieties.
Uruguay is another of the continent’s main wine producers. Not necessarily in terms of volume, but the country produces some very high-quality wines, celebrated both internationally and at home, and mainly thanks to the region’s favourable climate.
Among the best-known grapes are Tannat, a popular red grape of French origin, and Albariño, a very tasty white grape that was imported from the Iberian Peninsula, most likely Spain. Interestingly, most Uruguayan wine is produced by family-run vineyards.
Other countries in Latin America, such as Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador, all show promise for future wine cultivation. Perhaps, in the not-too-distant future, these lands too will become part of the enogastronomic phenomenon that is South America.