Wine Tours in Chile and Argentina — A Quick Comparison
You are finally planning the wine tours of your dream in South America, but can’t quite decide between Chile and Argentina. Both countries are well-known for their fantastic vineyards, breathtaking landscapes, and rich cultures. So what exactly sets them apart?
In this post, you’ll find out a lot more about Chile and Argentina to help you decide which country will be best for your dream tour.
Chile and Argentina: The Wines
Perhaps the most essential question to begin with is what kind of wine do you prefer?
Argentina is renowned for their Malbecs, which tend to be smooth and rich. Chilean Malbecs, by comparison, are sharp and acidic. But both can be fantastic, depending on your personal preferences.
Chile has the upper hand in the Cabernet department. Chilean Cabs are notable in that each region produces slightly different varieties due to the country’s geography. Chilean Cabs are similar to Bordeaux, with strong, fruit-forward qualities. Argentine Cabs are of an earthier, spicier variety.
Pinot Noir grapes thrive in the cool Chilean climate, and some juicy, natural acidic Pinots can be found in the San Antonio and Leyda areas. Casablanca offers notable Pinots with dark fruit notes and vegetal touches.
Argentina is home to the unique Torrontés variety, a white grape that produces smooth floral and tropical-tasting wines. You won’t find any other country that exports Torrontés, so be sure to stock up!
Meanwhile, Chile is home to the great red varietal Carmenere, which is not unlike a Cabernet Franc. Carmenere is a Bordeaux style grape that was thought to no longer exist since it was wiped out by the Phylloxera disease in France many years ago. For many years, Carmenere was thought to be Merlot. Fortunately, when some French migrated to Chile, they brought their Carmenere planting.
Chile and Argentina: The Wineries
Both countries have a plethora of notable, unique, and exceptional wine varieties. As far as wines go, your palate will undoubtedly have a flavorful experience. However, a great wine tour is as much about the setting and location as it is about the wine varieties themselves.
Chilean wineries tend to have on-site accommodation, lending themselves to wonderful and romantic retreats from civilization. Few things are as memorable as being woken in the morning by sun peeking into your room through the grapevines.
Argentina lends itself to chic and authentic hotels that offer winery tours and usually cover more ground. Argentina winery tours tend to be more formal and generally include food at the end of the tour and is a fantastic choice for exploring more than one winery in a day but you probably won’t have time for more than three. This offers you a great chance to get a real sense of everything Argentina has to offer.
Chile and Argentina: The Geography
Chile’s landscape offers breathtaking coastal and mountainous views. The topography of Chile makes for a silky fog that rolls in, and intertwines with the grapevines. The lush fog may make you think you’re back in Sonoma County.Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world, and its climates reflect that fact. Argentina is home to climates ranging from desert to warm mediterranean, all the way to tundra. Argentina is also home for wine lovers and considered as one of the world’s highest commercial vineyards, at approximately 9,800 feet above sea level.
If you’re looking for adventure beyond your wine tour, then the shared area of Patagonia is a must-have for your itinerary. Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina provides a breathtaking view of the expansive 2600 kilometers of ice fields that are home to nearly 50 glaciers.
Chilean Patagonia offers a wetter, greener, more hikeable landscape. In Torres del Paine National Park, there are three colossal rock towers, (called “paine,” which means “horns”), that offer stunning views.
Chile — Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert in Chile is a 105,000 square kilometer desert, and holds the title as the world’s driest desert. Some weather stations there have never recorded rain.
The soil is so sterile that it’s similar to what would be found on Mars. Notably, because the desert is one of the few places on Earth with 300+ clear sky days a year, and no light pollution, it is home to the world’s largest ground telescope.
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