In a previous column, I noted that one can't speak of the growth and evolution of the California wine industry without mentioning the name Paul Hobbs. The same is true to an even greater extent with Hobbs's influence in Argentina.
Recently we wrote about Argentina's potential to be the next great source of cabernet sauvignon, but that's not the grape that wineries are pushing these days. In fact, a couple of others are queuing up to share the mantle with malbec. But can they follow in the footsteps of Argentina's greatest alcoholic export?
Any discussion of wine in Argentina is quick to single out Torrontés, a fragrant grape that was originally believed to be a Spanish, which is capable of producing exotic white wines. The vine is unique to Argentina and performs best in the high elevation vineyards in the northern most wine region of Salta.
Wine has successfully penetrated the local market: it is now bought in 75 percent of Argentine households. That means one million more buyers choose wine over beer -which is purchased by 67 percent of households.
Wine enthusiasts will be able to taste a variety of labels before buying a bottle at the Alta Gama Winefest organized by the Almendariz group coming up on July 12 and 13. More than 600 wine labels hailing from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, U.S., France, Spain and Italy, as well as national labels, will participate in the event.
Carlos Cousiño, director of Cousiño Macul is optimistic that a strong 2013 harvest marks a positive turning point in Chile's recent fortunes, despite the challenge posed by ongoing trade union strikes.
It's impossible to encapsulate a renowned wine-producing country in a short list. But we're not letting that stop us from suggesting 10 wineries that you should remember the next time you're in Chile -- or, maybe, just the next time you're ordering off an impressive wine list here in the Bay Area.