Salta, with about 5,000 acres of wine grapes, is the most historical and the most northern wine region in Argentina with roots dating back to the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. Viticulture is based in the Calchaquí Valley at elevations of around 5.000 feet to as high as 9,800 feet above sea level in the case of Donald Hess‘s tiny vineyard which ranks as the world highest.
Additional wine making most of it on a much larger scale than Hess’s Bodega Colomé or the internationally know Yacochuya thrives around the city of Cafayate where Torrontés is king. All around this colonial town are vineyards planted in romantic over head pergolas, and from these vineyards the Torrontés-based wines have a distinct Salteño flavor of tropical fruit accented by floral intoxicating aromas. Served chilled, Torrontés from Salta ranks Argentina’s quintessential aperitif white wine
La Rioja, is a large, warm inland region anchored by the Famatina Valley. American wine consumers are just now starting to see more Torrontés grown on overhead parrals, which protect against the searing sun, is the most common type of vineyard in La Rioja, but there are also red grapes; including Malbec, Bonarda and Syrah.
Catamarca, is a northerly region still dotted with pre-Columbian ruins and other reminders of the way life was before the arrival of the Spanish. Elevations of up to more than 5,000 feet make the Fiambalá Valley the top spot of Catamarca viticulture. With about 5000 acres of vineyards Catamarca is home to just five wineries, several of which may soon be entering the export market