In contrast to the 2020 vintage, 2021 in Cuyo (encompassing the provinces of Mendoza, San Juan and La Rioja) experienced a relatively cool growing season marked by spring frost, above-average precipitation and a later harvest date.
October 2020 was not kind to growers in Mendoza or San Juan. Early-budding varieties were starting to emerge from dormancy just as frost hit the region. Initial reports estimated high loses but the INV reports that in the end yields in 2021 were 8% up on 2020. Most losses from frost were in early-budding white varieties. A cool summer led to slow ripening, and summer rains in February pushed harvest back further. Fortunately, a warm, dry autumn provided good picking conditions and allowed growers to harvest at peak maturation.
Patagonia’s 2021 season was relatively dry and warm, though not nearly as hot as the 2020 vintage.
Both whites and reds are generally well balanced with whites providing particularly impressive vibrancy.
(Report by Samantha Cole-Johnson; see related article.)
Following on the heels of the excellent 2019 vintage, 2020 was, with the exception of the northern Calchaquí Valleys, hot, dry and early.
In Cuyo (encompassing the provinces of Mendoza, San Juan and La Rioja), the winter leading up to 2020 was cool and dry without much snowfall. A warm spring encouraged early growth. While Patagonia didn’t see unusually warm temperatures until summer, fruit then ripened fast. Lack of precipitation during the growing season in both regions meant low disease pressure but exacerbated drought stress, lowering yield by 18% compared with 2019 (Instituto Nacional de Vitivinicultura (INV) report). Small berries, smaller yields, dry soils and high temperatures all contributed to early ripening. Harvest began 2–5 weeks earlier than normal depending on region and variety, with red grapes ripening particularly early. As in Chile in 2020, the picking window was tight, with varieties reaching maturity in rapid succession.
Provided that a producer picked at the right time, both reds and whites in 2020 performed well, with reds being particularly structured, concentrated and admirably fresh.
(Report by Samantha Cole-Johnson; see related article.)
Marginally smaller volumes of fruit did not disappoint Argentinian producers in 2019, because quality was excellent, helped along by a cool autumn allowing long ripening. The vintage is characterised by modest alcohol with fresh acidity in both reds and whites.
Low rainfall and cool temperatures in the harvest months of February to April gave rise to fruit with ‘optimal ripeness’ according to Laura Catena. The result is apparently a classic year for Mendoza Malbec in particular, producing smooth tannins and fresh natural acid. The drought concentrated flavours but yields have returned to normal after short harvests in 2017 and 2016.
Considered one of the best vintages in recent years, with generally warm and dry conditions. Cooler temperatures in the final two months lead to slightly lower alcohols and well preserved acidity. Even so, picking was generally earlier than the previous year, and while yields were higher than the small 2016 crop, volumes were still below the long-term average.
A rain- and hail-affected vintage made for unusually challenging conditions. It was also one of the coolest vintages on record, according to Bodega Catena Zapata, which had the advantage of restricting the spread of rot and resulted in atypically modest alcohol levels. Overall, though, yields are lower and quality is by no means reliable. Gualtallary is thought to be one of the regions that escaped the worst impact of the excess precipitation.
A tricky year for the main region, Mendoza, with warmth and humidity bringing rot, and hail affecting some areas too. The best producers had to be meticulous in their selection, and lesser wines are likely to suffer from the poor conditions.
Frost, and January rain made for whites with lighter than usual concentration in 2014, but fine aromatic detail. Reds are similarly fresh and elegant, but are not expected to be hugely long-lasting.
Healthy, dry and abundant with a cool spell late in the season prolonging the ripening period for red varieties. Very promising quality across all regions.
Similar to 2011, but with lower yields leading to higher colour, fruit intensity and notable tannin that will require many years of bottle age to resolve.
A generally cool, damp year in Argentina. Frost and hail caused some damage too, so careful selection was required to produce the best wines. On the plus side, the coolness made for particular aromatic intensity in white wines.
Reds have slightly lower than average alcohol, thanks to a cool ripening season. Fruit was harvested in good health, but quality was not as good as the exceptional 2009s.
For some, one of the best vintages of the decade in Mendoza. Winter was mild, spring was dry and summer was warm, with diurnal variation of over 15 ºC (27 ºF). Weather throughout harvest was very dry too, giving fruit in great condition.
A very cold winter, a warm spring and a wetter than average autumn. Generally underpowered as a vintage, although reds were marginally better than whites.
Good for white, but difficult for reds in Mendoza, with excessive heat leading to below optimal freshness in the wines. Salta did better, with Torrontés faring especially well. For a very detailed report, see our full report on 2007 in Argentina.
A very good vintage, making reds with freshness and plenty of body and fruit power. Excellent quality.
Cool weather meaning a lighter, more aromatic style of wine. The long, dry autumn allowed for extended ripening, which allowed for good natural balance.
Great concentration in reds, but late rains undermined the Cabernet Sauvignons.
Dry and warm, producing healthy fruit that made for typically fruity, deeply coloured reds.
Hotter than average, giving ripe, round tannin with full flavour ripeness.
Unremarkable wines, with rain leading to dilution in many examples.
A cool vintage, leaving the wines with high acid and fresh fruit.