The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ is featuring wines from Mendoza, Argentina in its 2020 Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition.
The competition, one of the largest in the country, will be held Nov. 16 and 17, 2019.
Mendoza is one of the greatest wine regions of the world, located in the central western part of the country, on the eastern side of the Andes Mountains. With more than 350,000 acres of planted vineyards and more than 1,500 wineries, Mendoza is by far the largest region for wine production in the country, making more than 70% of Argentina’s wine. Mendoza is the epicenter for Malbec, a once-obscure grape imported from France that has earned international recognition in its New World home. Mendoza’s Malbec represents 85% of all Malbec vineyards worldwide.
WHY IS MENDOZA WINE SO UNIQUE?
What makes Mendoza wines so unique and so outstanding is its location in the foothills of the Andes.
These are the world’s highest vineyards, with many planted at elevations ranging from 2,800 to 5,000 feet. Here, in the rain shadow of the Andes, long days of sunshine produce grapes with ripe, fruity notes, while sharp temperature drops at night create slow ripening, extending the growing season and contributing luscious flavors while maintaining acidity. This climate, along with natural irrigation from the pure water source of snowmelt from the Andes Mountains, makes Mendoza perfect for producing deliciously concentrated wines.
While Malbec is the star of the show in Mendoza, it is home to other highly-rated red wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Bonardo, a grape brought to South America by European immigrants and planted second only to Malbec.
The most planted white grape is Chardonnay, which adapts well to the highest altitudes and the cool climate of the Andean mountain range.
Mendoza also produces Sauvignon Blanc and Torrontés, the only wine grape native to Argentina, which delivers an aromatic, floral wine with notes of rose, peach and lemon.
Mendoza has three major wine regions: Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley.
Maipu is six miles from the city and is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in Argentina. It is by far the warmest area in Mendoza and has the lowest elevation at 2,600 feet. Maipu produces bright, intense, red wines made from Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.
Lujan de Cuyo, located in a valley just south of the city, is the wine region that made Argentine Malbec famous. The region was the first to institute the AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controlée) for Malbec in 1993, which has led to an increase in the quality and quantity of the wines, as well as a rise in global recognition. While Malbec is the signature grape here, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Torrontés also thrive as well.
The Uco Valley is the farthest from Mendoza (50 miles) and the closest to the mountains. The area is known for its high altitudes, with many vineyards sitting at 3,000 to 3,900 feet.
Besides producing award-winning Malbecs and blends, the area is emerging as a top producer of Mendoza’s finest white wines from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Torrontés.
DON'T MISS MENDOZA WINES AT RODEO 2020!
With wines from Mendoza, Argentina as the featured region for the 2020 International Wine Competition, Rodeo fans will have several opportunities to enjoy a unique selection of delicious wines created by innovative winemakers at several Rodeo Uncorked! events.
Winning wines from Argentina, along with other winning varieties from the competition, will be served during Roundup & Best Bites Competition, Feb. 23, the Champion Wine Auction & Dinner, March 1, and in the Champion Wine Garden daily during the Rodeo, which runs from March 3 to March 22.
To learn more about Rodeo Uncorked! events, visit rodeohouston.com/wine or join the Rodeo Uncorked! Facebook group.