Chardonnay, Argentina, Spain

Chardonnay is planted in almost every region in the world and makes a wide variety of wine styles from light-bodied, crisp and unoaked through to full-bodied, complex barrel matured versions. Chardonnay is an adaptable variety and can be grown in cool regions as well as warm areas. It is a productive, early budding and early ripening variety.

Chardonnay first came to Australia in the 1920s but didn’t find popularity until the 1970s. Grown all across the country the cool climate versions (like found in the Yarra Valley and Tasmania) tend to be lighter in body with higher acidity and more subtle flavours. Warm climate versions (found in Margaret River, Hunter Valley and the Adelaide Hills) tend to be more full-bodied with richer, riper fruit and bolder flavours.
The wine industry in Argentina has had one of the fastest growth rates in the wine world and now claims to be the fifth largest wine producer in the world. Much like certain aspects of Argentine cuisine, the wine industry too has its roots in Spain. Vine cuttings were brought to Santiago del Estero in the 1600s.

Up until the 1980s, Argentina was known for producing more 'quantity' wine over 'quality' wine, but that has changed with winemakers across the board lifting their game. There is no doubt that Malbec is the grape on which Argentina's international reputation as a wine-producing nation is founded. Whilst it is a difficult grape to grow, the climate and conditions around Mendoza and in particular the Uco Valley is ideally suited to producing world-class wine.

The most popular varieties planted out in Argentina would be Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah and Tempranillo.
Spain is definitely one of the new-world players to keep an eye on. It is the land of old-vines, american oak and sherry! The main varieties grown in Spain are Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache) in the reds, and Airén, Viura/Macabeo, Verdejo and Albarino for the whites. Lesser grown whites include Palomino. Other reds successfully cultivated include Carignan, Mourvedre and Mencia.

Although Spain can be quite a warm country, the vast majority of vineyards are 600m or so above sea level, so the cooler nights allow the grapes to develop full colour and acidity.

Rioja is undoubtedly the long-standing king of all the Spanish wine regions, where Tempranillo and Garnacha are commonly blended. However more recently many more regions have come to the forefront of interest. Ribera Del Duero is producing excellent Tempranillo blends rivalling those coming out of Rioja. Jerez in the South is the home of the fortified wine Sherry.

Spanish wine laws created the Denominación de Origen (DO) system in 1932 and were later revised in 1970. These include:
  • - Denominación de Origen Calificada (formerly called DOCa) Priorat calls itself DOQ for Denominació d'Origen Qualificada in Catalan and has a track record of consistent quality and is meant to be a step above DO level.
  • - Denominación de Origen (DO)- Used for mainstream-quality wine regions. Nearly two thirds of the total vineyard area in Spain is within the boundaries of a DO region.
  • - Vino de Calidad Producido en Región Determinada (VCPRD) - This is somewhat of a stepping stone to DO status.
  • - Vinos de la Tierra (VdIT) - A level similar to France's vin de pays system, where the regions are much larger.
  • - Vino de Mesa (VdM)- The equivalent of 'table wines' from France or Italy
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  1. Terrazas De Los Andes Reserva Chardonnay 2019
    The alliance of character and elegance. For lovers of high-end wine, the unique Franco-Argentinian character of Terrazas de los Andes takes the experience even higher and even further. ... Learn More
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