Discovering the wine region of Famatina
Famatina is a remote, Dry and dusty river valley in the foothills of the Andes, within the La Rioja region of Argentina. Torrontés is by far the most important Grape variety planted in Famatina, and produces fresh, Aromatic white wines. The ever-present Malbec produces excellent wines in the region as well, along with Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.
The small town of Famatina and the slightly larger town of Chilecito are home to the region's 500 or so small, family-owned vineyards.
These mostly produce grapes for the La Riojana Co-Operative that operates in the valley. Founded in 1940 by Italian immigrants, the co-operative is the dominant wine-production force in the valley, and the country's largest producer of Torrontés wines.
Conditions can be Harsh. Summer temperatures can reach 45°c (113°F), while there is only 180mm (7 inches) of rainfall per year.
However, the Terroir here is moderated by the altitude, which is higher than that of Mendoza in the South.
Vineyards in Famatina can be found at between 900 and 1,400 meters (2,950-4,600ft) above sea level. At this altitude, the vines experience intense solar radiation during the day and much cooler nights, This leads to an extended growing season during which the grapes have time to develop both Flavor complexity and Acidity.
The increased diurnal temperature variation makes Famatina more suited to Torrontés than Mendoza in the south.