This month Chile beat Argentina on penalties to win the Copa América for the first time. However, which country comes out on top when it comes to wine? Both countries have seen huge increases in popularity for their wines, with exported Chilean and Argentinian wines enjoyed around the globe. While teh counutries share a long border and share a language, their wines could not be much more different.
Old World versus New World
The wines of Argentina, much like their football team, are full of flair, youth and utilising the newest, most modern and cutting edge techniques in their wine production. They have the flair of their national team and Argentina is a winemaking country which is thoroughly in the New World category. Chile is more traditional, sticking to the methods they know that work and using these techniques, balance and reputable old vines, they are a more traditional Old World-style wine producer.
Malbec versus Cabernet Sauvignon
Argentina is famous for its Malbec which has become renowned around the world for its depth of flavour and robust fruitiness. Argentinian Malbecs are deep red in colour and have an intensity to their flavour which makes them forever memorable and extremely popular. Malbec is in fact one of Argentina’s biggest exports.
In Chile the star grape is the Cabernet Sauvignon which is punchy and powerful in flavour and highly versatile with different wineries producing wines of different subtleties. Chile is also versatile when it comes to other grape productions, with a surprisingly enjoyable range of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs produced too.
Wine Country versus Versatility
Argentina’s wine growing regions, especially the largest Mendoza, are practically desert and this means they are prime for producing great yields and Mendoza is in fact home to over 1000 individual wineries. They have the space and the opportunity to perfect their growing methods and experiment with new ideas.
Whilst the Chilean wine growing regions are less centralised and less climatically similar, they benefit from the versatility a varied climate and different locations bring. Cool Pacific breezes allow Chile to grow high quality white wines as well as reds and a wealth of different terroirs are offered across the country.
When compared to other regions, Chile and Argentina both contribute only a small percentage of the overall wine sales in the UK, although this is growing. Sales of Argentinian wine are increasing faster than those of Chile but there is plenty of appreciation for the style of Chilean wines still. Will it all come down to penalties again?