Semillon was, at one point not so long ago, widely believed to be one of the most grown grape varietals in the world. Whilst today the numbers of Semillon grapes has dropped considerably, it remains a widely planted grape with vineyards all over Europe and the New World dedicated to making the most of this special and flavorful varietal. The grapes are recognizable by their golden color, and the fact that they can take on a pinkish hue in particularly warm climates. The wines the Semillon grape produces are notably varied, and are often very crisp and dry, or sweet and soft, full of a wide range of flavors Commonly, dry Semillon wines are particularly citrus in flavor, with a delicate and summery bouquet. The vine is hardy and vigorous, and notable for being easy to grow and produce high yields from.
The region of Cuyo has been internationally associated with fine Argentinian wine for several decades, and has a wine history which stretches back centuries to the time of the original Spanish settlers, who sought areas in which to plant imported grape vines for sacramental wine production. The region contains several of Argentina's most renowned and widely appreciated provinces, including the Mendoza, La Rioja, San Juan and San Luis, and the mountainous nature of this arid region provides an ideal environment for vineyard cultivation. As the mighty Desaguadero River snakes its way between the Andes, it deposits plenty of important minerals in the soil, which allow grape varietals closely associated with the Argentinian wine industry â€“ such as Malbec â€“ to grow to a perfect level of ripeness. As such, even in the driest areas of the Cuyo region, flavorful and fruit-forward wines are produced in impressive amounts.
It is said that the first Argentinian vines were planted in the Mendoza more than four hundred years ago by European settlers, and despite these early wines being used primarily for religious purposes, the fervor for wine making never left the area. Today, Argentina is keen to demonstrate its technological prowess when it comes to vineyard cultivation, by combining traditional methods of irrigation left over from the Huarpes Indians with modern techniques in order to make the dry, arid desert an ideal environment for growing grapes. Indeed, these ancient irrigation channels, dug hundreds of years ago and still in use today, bring mineral-rich melt water from the Andes via the Mendoza river, something which gives the grapes grown in this region some of their character. The primary grape of this and other regions of Argentina is the Malbec, which is highly susceptible to rot in its native France, but which thrives in the dry and hot climate of South America, producing rich and plummy wines which are highly drinkable especially when young.