While the U.S. is scheduled to become the world’s largest wine-drinking market by 2012, the neighbor to the north isn’t lagging behind.
“Canadians might have a new passion to add after hockey: being wine connoisseurs,” the country’s Financial Post opined early last year. As one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for wine consumption, Canada is an important export destination for many Argentine vineyards.
Canada also offers an interesting case study in the maturity and increasing diversity, both in terms of blends and geography, of Argentine offerings abroad. While lower-priced malbecs and malbec-shiraz blends from Mendoza helped fuel a 27% increase in wine consumption from 2003-07, Canadian wine connoisseurs are starting to discover the joys of Bonardas, Torrontes, Tempranillos, Pinot Noirs and even Cabernet Francs produced in other Argentine regions like San Juan and La Rioja to the north and Neuquen to the south. (Map)
Canadian wine critics from Edmonton to Montreal weighed in this week with their recommendations which focused on these newer, pricier blends from Argentina. The geographic expansion beyond Mendoza bodes well for foreign investors looking to produce unique blends in the sandy soil of Salta or the cooler climes of Neuquen.
While experimental vineyards have been producing wines in these regions for less than a decade, the results have been phenomenal. Wine Spectator’s Matt Kramer confirmed this with a recent journey to Salta and an excellent review of several southern bodegas titled Into the Patagonia Desert.
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