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Mendoza is far-and-away Argentina's largest and most important wine-producing region. It is located on the western edge of Argentina on a high plateau beneath the Andes Mountains, roughly on a parallel with the Maipo Valley to the west, across the Andes in Chile. It is a large region with over 1,000 wineries, but the heart of production is located just south of the city of Mendoza itself, where vines were originally planted as far back as the 1500s.

Mendoza is at 3,000 feet of altitude and lies in the shadow of the Andes Mountains. This fabled 20,000-plus foot mountain range creates a rain shadow that eliminates the worry of rain at harvest. Additionally, cool air flows down from the mountains at night creating an ideal diurnal range. While daytime highs in the heart of summer may reach 100 degrees F, the same night could be as cool as 45-50 degrees F. This makes for even ripening, retention of natural acidity, bright healthy colors in the wines, and true varietal flavors. It is a viticultural paradise.

While Malbec is the star of the region, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Torrontes can also be found producing wines that range from world class to great value, everyday drinkers. (Wine/Appellations)