The silence of the vineyards is mingled with the soft splash of a nearby river. Pause, let your gaze wander, see enough and enjoy a sweet cereza (Spanish: cherry) - this is San Juan, the second largest wine-growing region in Argentina!
Dry wine and dry landscape of San Juan
The vines in San Juan have it really hard. Hardly any precipitation and dusty, hot zonda (foehn wind), which results in rain shadow. Nevertheless, it does not prevent the winegrowers of San Juan from using the dry landscape for winegrowing year after year. In order for this to succeed, the sites are supported by a system of canals. Along the fertile rivers Rio Jachal and Rio San Juan, viticulture is easier. The rivers carry fresh melt water from the Andes to the vineyards. In this way, the lush green vines stand out like a small oasis from the sometimes barren landscape. Often dry red wines are produced here. The grape varieties Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot are cultivated for this.
In the high vineyards of San Juan
In the San Juan wine region, cool nights follow hot days. These are good conditions for the red grape varieties of the rather high vineyards of Valle Tulum, Valle Zonda or Valle Pedernal. The Tulum Valley reaches altitudes of about 650 m. Here Malbec and Syrah ripen to a very large extent. The soils consist mostly of clay, silt and sand, occasionally gravel and crushed stone.
Valle Zonda lies a little higher. At about 700 to 800 m, mainly the red grape varieties Syrah and Malbec can be found here. Since the foehn wind Zonda exerts a great influence in this section of San Juan, the vines have to develop long roots to get water.
However, the highest wine growing area is Valle Pedernal. The vineyards of this sub-region of San Juan are located at about 1200 - 1300 m above sea level. The green foliage of the Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec vines stands out strongly against the dark, black rocks of the area. The name is derived from this: "pedernal" means flint stone.
At this altitude, the intensity of the sun is very high. The nights are much cooler than in other parts of San Juan. This is reflected in the wine. Because the ripening of the berries is prolonged with these conditions. This results in very complex wines that convince with elegance.
The red grape varieties in the San Juan wine region
The Argentinian wine-growing region San Juan has several red grape varieties. Often the South American winegrowers cultivate the following:
- Cabernet Franc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
San Juans white grape varieties
San Juan is not limited to red wine alone. Frequently encountered white grape varieties are:
- Sauvignon Blanc
San Juans light red wines
The San Juan wine region is characterized by the light red wines Criolla Chica, Criolla Grande and Cereza. The Criolla varieties were probably imported from Spain in the 16th century. They are characterized by a very high yield. Criolla Grande, for example, matures between medium to late. This often results in very large, heavy grapes. They are vinified either to rosé wine or dark white wine. As a blend, Criolla varieties are used in San Juan for red wine. In general, the cheap wines remain in the domestic market of Argentina. The Creole (Spanish: criollo) wine variety is extremely popular with the local winegrowers.
Only two varieties are more common in the San Juan vineyards. These are Malbec and Cereza. Cereza is a cross between Muscat d'Alexandrie and Listán Prieto (Criolla Chica). The Cereza vine ripens late and, like Criolla Grande, is very productive. It copes very well with the heat and dryness of the San Juan wine region. Similar to the Criolla varieties, Cereza is suitable for blending with red wine. Rosés and white wines are also made from the light red grape variety.
Wine growing region San Juan
San Juan is the second largest wine growing region in Argentina. It has a vineyard area of about 48,000 hectares. Although viticulture is difficult due to the very low rainfall, the winegrowers produce large quantities of wine. Especially the native Criolla grape varieties and Cereza are vinified to produce inexpensive and sweet wines. Water scarcity and rain shadow require additional irrigation of the area near the Andes. The grapes ripen up to an altitude of about 1200 m. The average annual temperature is 17.5ºC. From November onwards, temperatures rise very significantly and reach their peak in January.
Interesting facts about wine from San Juan
How many hours of sunshine are there in San Juan?
During the two hottest months - December and January - San Juan has about 9.7 hours of sunshine per day. The months of November and February also have around 9.5 hours of sunshine per day.
What does rain shadow mean for San Juan?
Rain shadows are the areas that are located on the side of the mountains that is away from the wind and therefore have very little precipitation like San Juan. The clouds usually rain out on the other side of the mountains and therefore hardly carry any water.
What is the rainfall in San Juan?
The precipitation in the San Juan wine region is about 12 mm per year. There are about 12 rainy days a year.
Buy San Juan wine online buy on VINELLO
In our VINELLO online store you can buy wine from the Argentinean San Juan. Browse the store from VINELLO to San Juan in a relaxed manner. For example, you will find dry Syrah and Malbec or Chardonnay if you prefer a chilled white wine. We offer you a comfortable service: In our online store you simply pay uncomplicated. We ship your wine fast and safe. Almost worldwide. Order wine from San Juan and give yourself a gift of pleasure.
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