South American wines are known for being food-friendly, reasonably priced, and very drinkable. Many South American countries have produced wines historically, and over the past few decades, the quality and distinctive character of these wines have increased significantly.
Serious oenophiles and indiscriminate guzzlers alike should be sure to visit these fabulous wine regions in South America:
Wine Regions in South America
Central Valley, Chile
Chile’s unique geography makes it an ideal country for growing grapes. Long and thin, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and divided by the Andes, it has a mostly dry and arid climate. Plenty of sunshine and good soil earn Chile the rank of 9th wine-producing country in the world, and the 4th in imports to the United States.
The wine-producing Central Valley stretches from the Maipo Valley, just south of Santiago, down to the Maule Valley. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet, Merlot, and Chile’s most famous varietal, Carménère, are all produced in the region.
Currently, winemakers are experimenting with Chile’s cooler, coastal climate as a place to make Viognier, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer. Charming haciendas and cowboy culture await visitors who make the trip out into the valleys.
As the other big name in South American wines, Argentina is known primarily for its Malbec, although it also produces great Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Chardonnay, and Torrontés.
Visitors to Mendoza don’t even have to leave the city proper to experience these delicious wines; tasting rooms, such as Vines of Mendoza, are a great way to sample all that Argentina has to offer. Renting a bike from a local company and taking a self guided tour is a great way to get out of town and explore some nearby wineries.
As Argentina is also known for grilled meats and tango dancing, it’s no surprise that the nightlife in Mendoza is fantastic.”
For those that overdo it, the lomito sandwich is a surefire hangover cure. A lomito completo includes sliced steak, a fried egg, ham, and cheese, and more!
Uruguay isn’t as celebrated a wine producer as its neighbors, but that is changing.
Tannat, a varietal used mainly for blending in France, is much improved by the terroir of the hills north of Montevideo: Originally named for its tannic qualities, the Tannat produced in Uruguay’s clay soils is much smoother and more sophisticated than that grown in France. Montevideo’s lovely waterfront is the perfect location to relax and crack open a bottle.