Thirst developing for Argentine whites
6th January, 2016 by Lucy Shaw
While dwarfed by the country’s red wine production, a thirst is developing for whites made in Argentina, with both domestic consumption and exports on the rise.
Doña Paula’s agronomist, Martin Kaiser
Speaking to the drinks business during a recent visit to Argentina with Santa Rita, Martin Kaiser, chief agronomist at Doña Paula, said: “Sales of Argentine whites in both the domestic and export markets are really on the rise and are growing much faster than we anticipated.
“Whites still only account for around 15% of the total wine production in Argentina but production is growing fast.
Kaiser admitted that Argentina’s flagship white grape, Torrontés, “can often be bitter, short and tired” in character. “We’re working towards a fresher, more mineral style with higher acidity and a longer finish,” he said.
On a commercial scale, Kaiser believes Chardonnay is the white grape aside from Torrontés with the greatest potential in Argentina.
“It’s hard to make good Sauvignon Blanc here as our high temperatures tend to kill the aromatics. Chardonnay is a much more flexible variety to work with,” he said. Doña Paula is one of the only estates in Argentina that makes a 100% Riesling.
“You need to go to the cooler sites in the country to make good aromatic whites – less than 1% of Argentina has the right climate for white wine production, even Patagonia is too warm,” Kaiser revealed.
Another producer in Argentina carving a niche for its whites is Catena, whose White Stones and White Bones Chardonnays are made at its high altitude Adrianna vineyard in Tupungato.