Argentina ~ Wine Region of the Month
Argentina is the second largest country in South America and the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. Curious as to the origin of the word, “Argentina” is derived from the Latin argentum (“silver”). The earliest evidence of humans in Argentina dates from 11,000 BC and was found in Patagonia, now a thriving wine growing region. European explorers arrived in 1516 with Spain leading the way, establishing the Viceroyalty of Peru in 1542 and encompassing all its holdings in South America. Argentine wine, as with some aspects of Argentine cuisine, obviously has deeply rooted Spanish influences. During the Spanish colonization of the Americas, vine cuttings were brought to Santiago del Estero in 1557, and the cultivation of the grape and wine production stretched first to neighboring regions, and then to other parts of the country. The most important wine regions of the country are located in the provinces of Mendoza, which produces more than 60% of the Argentine wine and is the source of an even higher percentage of the total exports. Despite the political, economic and social upheaval over the past century, Argentina continues its leadership in supplying the world with outstanding reds and white while adhering to a common sense approach to costs, meaning affordable. Ole!