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.
Undoubtedly the most important viticultural region of the country of Argentina is Cuyo, the arid and red-soiled area within central-west Argentina which produces over eighty percent of the nation's wine each year. Cuyo represents the finest aspects of Argentinian wine making, with wineries in the region celebrating their traditions which stretch back to the sacramental wines first introduced to the country by Spanish settlers hundreds of years ago. As with much of Argentina, Cuyo is most famous for the production of Malbec wines, with Malbec grapes thriving prodigiously in the hot climate of the region, reaching full ripeness in ways they rarely could in their native France, and producing wines of exceptional flavor and quality. The Desaguadero River is the key water source in this otherwise dry and dusty region, and successful irrigation projects have helped bring water to even the driest vineyards within Cuyo.
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.