Argentina is synonymous with two things.
One) Having the best steak in the world,
and two) producing fantastic wine.
Mendoza stands at the forefront of all this wine business.
Furthermore, Mendoza is actually responsible for two thirds of the countries wine production and this is due to two main causes. Firstly- Climate. Mendoza has a fairly continental climate and semi-arid ( almost desert-esque conditions). It receives four distinct seasons each year. Apparently this is ideal for grapes.. Furthermore, mountain rivers such as The Desaguadero and the Atuel provide a plentiful supply of glacial water from the Andes keeping grape growth at optimum levels. In addition to all this water- as early as the 16th century several boreholes were built to provide the equivalent of two extra rivers to the region helping to sustain – dare I use the word ‘moisture’ in the semi arid desert.
But how did Mendoza get its name? It’s all good and well a region having the capabilities, but if no one knows about it or no one can get there it’s not really worth all that much is it? This leads me to my second cause. Trains. Yes trains. That’s right- transportation bringing people together. Just like in the British Industrial revolution when it gave stressed out Londoners ( if stress was a real thing back then) the wonderful opportunity to head to the beaches of the south coast and have a little bit of a retreat… These days we would call that sort of thing rehab.
Nevertheless it was the construction of the ‘Buenos Aires- Mendoza railroad in 1885 which lead to a major immigration from the coast, inland. In turn this sparked a major development of Mendoza’s vineyards and most likely a bit of pre 21st century alcoholism. Actually I do have a third reason- and this one might actually be the most important .. Europeans. Yes thats right, Europeans or as my father would say people who actually know how to make wine… ‘None of this ‘Wine’s of the New World Crap’. Anyway, there was an immigration in the masses to Rio de la Planta ( a region known as the ‘River Plate primarily conceived of the Uruguay and Parana rivers ) Anyway, it seemed that all these southern Europeans cared about was wine and with them they brought the ‘know how’- that being the ‘know how’ to make wine.
By 1910 the vineyards of Mendoza had grown from totalling 1000 ha to 45000 ha. They surpassed those of its Chilean neighbours and had a throughly traditional yet modern method of production. Argentina is now the leading wine producer in South America and is probably most famous for its Malbec. ( something they charge over £12 a glass for in high end bars in London Suburbia (2016)) My father actually likes a Malbec. It does however give me much pleasure to inform you that in 1910 over eighty percent of Argentine Vineyards were planted with French Stock… meaning that Argentine Malbec is actually French… Apologies to the ‘New World’ but you stole this from France.
I feel like I could go on about Malbec for a couple more paragraphs but I think that this might be enough. I give you one last super interesting fact though. April 17th is ‘World Malbec day’. I suggest you celebrate with a bottle .. or two.. each.