Malbec: A Taste to Tango With

Nov. 7, 2013
Will Lions on Wine @ The Wall Street Journal

IN ARGENTINA THEY PLANT their vineyards high. In some areas, like the Andean foothills, the altitude can be a dizzying 2,000 meters, and sometimes higher. To put that into a more easily graspable European context, that is more than six times the height of the Eiffel Tower. It’s the altitude that explains the unique flavor and character of Argentinian wines. In short, the higher the vineyards the more intense the sunlight, hence the thicker the skins grow and the more acidity the grapes acquire.

I have only ever seen this light from above, flying over the Andes on my way to Santiago. But speak with any Argentinian winemaker and they will wax lyrical about it. When I mentioned Argentina to wine consultant Michel Rolland, his eyes lit up as he talked about the purity of the mountain air and the intensity of the light.

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