A Complete Guide to Organic Argentinian Wine
An impressive 197,969 hectares of vines are planted across Argentina. Stretching 2,362 miles from north to south, vineyards can be found the full length of this impressively beautiful country.
Unsurprisingly a country this vast is home to a hugely diverse range of organic Argentinian wines and terroirs. It is this, combined with a good range of grape varieties, that is at the heart of Argentina’s diversity and individuality as a wine-producing country.
Explore our range of organic wines from Argentina
What types of wine are from Argentina?
Given the immense size of Argentina, it’s not surprising that there are wines of all colours and styles to be found here.
You can source international-styled Argentina red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, as well as local gems made from Bonarda and Malbec (okay, we know it’s French, but that Argentinians have really made it their own!). To this, you can add the ‘pink’ varieties Cereza and Criolla and delicious organic white wines made from Torrontés and Moscatel.
The promotional body for Argentinian wines took an event called, “Argentina’s Got Range” to the USA. Not sure quite why it didn’t make it to the UK, but its focus was to show the breadth and diversity of altitudes, latitudes, varieties, and styles that the country has to offer. With no such event looking set to reach our shores all we can do is suggest you try the extensive range of organic Argentinian wines on offer at home and enjoy them at your leisure.
What does Argentinian organic wine taste like?
Argentina has a brilliant climate for organic and biodynamic winemaking. Despite this, there were as little as 273 hectares of certified organic vineyards in 2005. Nowadays, we are happy to report that 76 Argentinian wineries, covering a total of 7,312 hectares have organic accreditation. An additional 432 hectares are biodynamically certified.
In one of the world’s largest vine growing countries, the area suitable, Argentina wine regions cover a small area but the increase in 15 years is impressive. Perhaps more encouragingly there’s a very strong emphasis on delivering high-quality wines within this group of organic Argentina wine estates, meaning we get delicious and environmentally-friendly wines too.
In 2021 a group of organic Argentinian producers came together to form, Vinodinámicos, a not-for-profit organisation whose self-declared mission is to “develop healthy, responsible agricultural practices for the production of organic, biodynamic wines that reflect their place of origin and embody respect for nature and humanity.” We are delighted that our Argentinian estate, Domaine Bousquet is part of this group.
What are the wine regions of Argentina?
It is easiest to think of Argentina wine regions in three parts: The North, The Middle and The South.
North Argentina wine regions
The North Argentina wine region is made up of four wine valleys. These are Catamarca, Jujuy, Salta, and Tucumán. The vineyards here are amongst some of the highest altitude sites in the country, with some found at over 3,000 meters above sea level.
The biggest and best-known area in this area is the Cafayate Valley which is in Salta. 60% of Argentina’s northern vineyards can be found here. In general terms, the climate is arid and dry with long, hot summers. The soils are typically sandy-loam or sand with a high proportion of fine sand that supports excellent drainage.
The organic white wine variety, Torrontés is something of a star performer here, though it is still outplayed by Malbec.
Central Argentina wine regions
The Middle – An Argentina wine region that is perhaps more correctly referred to as Cuyo – is the most prolific vine-growing area of any country in South America. A whopping 187,505 hectares of vines can be found here which, for stats enthusiasts, 94.7% of the country’s total plantings.
Cuyo means ‘desert country’ and was the name the native people gave to the land, long before the colonisers arrived. Arid and fertile, the area lies to the west of Argentina and at the foothills of the spectacular Andes Mountain range. La Rioja, Mendoza and San Juan are the three named areas of Argentina’s ‘Middle’.
Care needs to be taken not to confuse La Rioja with Spain’s Rioja. The Argentinian La Rioja is made up of valleys that soak up the sun’s rays in the day and cooler night-time temperatures in which the vines can relax. Severe drought is common here too. Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah are the prominent organic red wine varieties, whilst Torrontés is the leading organic white wine.
Lovers of Argentinian wines will undoubtedly be familiar with Mendoza. The Andes dominate the area both visually and viticulturally. They are the ultimate natural buffer to the humid winds that blow in from the pacific and the snowmelt that ‘waters’ the vineyards is also hugely important.
San Juan has a wonderfully diverse terroir though it is perhaps best known for its alluvial soils with a presence of sand and clay. All the favourite organic red grape varieties are planted here but the Syrah wines are worth hunting out as they perform especially well here.
Southern Argentina wine regions
When we talk about the South Argentina wine region, we are referring, of course, to the Patagonia & Atlantic region. Though it’s pretty small in terms of vine cultivated area (3,780 hectares), the area is actually quite vast, extending the width of the country. Vineyards are positioned around the basins and banks of the principal rivers which play an important part in the region’s terroir. The combination of latitude, low altitude and an abundance of sunlight is also very important, as are the blustery winds that offer cooling relief to the vines. Some delicious Pinot Noir wines are made here.
What is the best organic Argentinian wine?
For us, the answer is Domaine Bousquet. We have worked with this estate for over 15 years and have yet to find a range to beat them. Outstanding organic credentials, amazing value for money and simply delicious.
In 2020, Forbes Magazine interviewed Anne Bousquet. When asked what appealed to her father about the Gualtallary Valley, she replied, “It was the altitude… ranging up to 5.249 feet, which are the highest extremes of Mendoza’s viticultural limits. Fast-forward to the present and wine cognoscenti now recognise it as the source of some of Mendoza’s finest wines. Back then, it was virgin territory …”.
Anne went on to say, “We have now established ourselves as the leading Argentinian winery for organic wines”.
Bousquet are dedicated to organic viticulture. They know that organically-nurtured vine roots penetrate deep into the soil where they absorb the trace mineral that give their wines an authentic natural taste. The also understand that organic viticulture makes for quality fruit that has great character and vibrancy of flavour. By adopting organic practices, they are working in harmony with nature and protecting the land and wider environment for future generations.
You can read more about Domaine Bousquet here.
Organic red wine from Argentina
We are going to be greedy here… Who, after all can pick just one great organic Argentina red wine from Bousquet?
We will get to Malbec in a minute but let’s start with Pinot Noir. Because of the high-altitude vineyards that Bousquet have, they are able to make an organic red wine that has Old World elegance but with a concentration of flavour that gives more than a hint of its Argentinian origins. The wine was aged for ten months in French oak.
Buy your bottle of Bousquet Pinot Noir here.
Malbec is the flagship red grape of Argentina. This variety alone represents 23% of the country’s entire vineyard plantings. It is adored for its hugely generous flavour profile that can range from red cherry to positively plummy. As you’d expect its taste can be further enhanced by oak ageing.
How to pick one of Bousquet’s impressive range? Tricky and in the end it’s between the Virgin Malbec No-Added Sulphur and the premium varietal Malbec. Both are on the fresher-side of things and give you a really varietally-pure Malbec experience. Forced to choose…
Go for the Domaine Bousquet un-oaked Malbec. Lovely, elegant red with blackberry and plum aromas and a palate that is smooth and round with oodles of plum fruits.
Organic white wine from Argentina
Getting to know the delicious organic white wines that are made in Argentina means exploring Torrontés. Found only in Argentina, Torrontés is best known for its floral aromas that can range from rose to sweet pea and geranium. Also blessed with fine acidity, the wines have a good deal of charm.
Domaine Bousquet makes a very attractive white that is a blend of Torrontés and Chardonnay. Medium-bodied with floral and tropical fruit notes, there’s a lovely intensity to the palate and the flavours live long and generously. There’s no oak on this wine.
A great organic Argentinian rosé wine to try
Domaine Bousquet make their pink from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Given that neither variety is particularly of the ‘shy and retiring’ type it’s surprising how elegant, and refreshing it is. The wine has great weight and structure though too and it’s the sort of rosé you could serve with a meal … even in the cooler months.
Buy Domaine Bousquet Rosé here.
Mixed cases of organic wine from Argentina
Can’t decide which great organic white Argentinian Malbec to go for … buy a mixed case!
The Vintage Roots, “Good, Better, Best Malbecs” Case is a six-bottle delight for Malbec enthusiasts! Containing one bottle each of Bousquet’s epic range of Malbec wines, including the breathtaking “Gran Malbec”, it’s a great way to explore Argentina’s wine USP.