Argentina | La Rioja
The La Rioja wine province of Argentina is sited in the foothills of the Andes to the north of Mendoza and San Juan in the Cuyo region. The main wine producing regions of the province are Nonogasta, Chilecito, Famatina and Antinaco. The vineyards are located mainly in small irrigated valleys to the west of the province, between the Sierras de Velasco to the east and the Sierra de Famatina to the west.
The mountainous terroir of the region is particularly suited to the production of white wines and in particular the Torrontés Riojano grape variety, which accounts for 35% of the province's vineyard acreage and produces crisp, aromatic white wines. Red varieties grown successfully in La Rioja include Bonarda and Syrah.
It is thought that La Rioja was one of the first Argentinian regions to have vines planted in it, after Spanish settlers came to the region in the late 16th Century and planted grape vines. La Rioja was named for the northern Spanish region of the same name by Juan Ramirez de Velasco, a Spaniard from Rioja itself. However, this has caused some animosity between the two regions but in 2011, the Argentinian province won a court case allowing it to continue to label its wines as 'La Rioja Argentina'.