Discovering the wine region of La Rioja
La Rioja is a wine region in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in western Argentina, North of Mendoza and San Juan. Unlike its Spanish namesake, it has traditionally been associated most closely with white wines.
The mountainous Terroir of the region is particularly suited to the Torrontés Riojano variety, which produces Fruity, Soft, Aromatic whites. Bonarda, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec can also be found growing throughout the region.
Locals argue that La Rioja was one of the first Argentinian regions to have vines Planted in it, and Spanish settlers in the late 16th Century are widely credited with being the first to plant grapes here. La Rioja was named for the northern Spanish region by Juan Ramirez de Velasco, a native of the latter.
This has caused some animosity between the two regions. In 2011, the Argentinian province won a court case allowing it to continue to label its wines as 'La Rioja Argentina'.
Vineyard conditions in La Rioja
La Rioja's position in the rain shadow of the Andes range means that wine-producing areas are strictly governed by access to water. As a result, vineyard distribution is scattered.
There is a single main production area in the Famatina Valley, which sits in the mesoclimate formed by the Sierra de Velasco and the Sierra de Famatina mountain ranges. Some small vineyard areas can also be found around the towns of Nonogasta and Villa Union.