VALLE DE UCO
Well inside the first mountainsides of the Andes’ foothills, the Uco valley presents the highest altitudes at which wines are produced in the province of Mendoza: up to 1,400 meters above sea level. As in the case of Luján de Cuyo and Maipú, this particular area is undergoing an intensive development process thanks to the influx investments from foreigners, some of whom are making particularly significant investments.
The reasons why this region is so coveted are its thermal amplitude and high solar radiation levels. The combination of these factors results in slow and balanced ripening cycles. Thus, both white and red varieties give forth their primary varietal bouquets. Particularly, in the case of the red varieties, the tannins and color become fixed in the grape’s skin, thus giving the wines intensity and structure.
This region includes the departments of Tunuyán, Tupungato and San Carlos. It is located in the West-Center of Mendoza, between 33° 5' and the 35° south latitude. The mean yearly temperature is 14.2° C. This region is characterized by the capacity of production of a high quality raw material to obtain either white or red wines, and the good acidity that the grapes get, allow the wines of Uco Valley to be suitable for a prolonged aging.
The best wines are produced from grape varieties that have short ripening cycles, especially Chardonnay, Semillon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. This also applies, in some cases, to Malbec and Tempranillo. The climatic characteristics of the region facilitate the production of wines which are markedly acidic. This characteristic makes them ideal bases for sparkling wines, particularly with the varieties typically used for such purpose. This region includes the districts of Villa Bastía, San José, Ancón, El Peral, Tupungato, La Arboleda, El Zampal, Agua Amarga and Gualtallary (Tupungato Department), El Algarrobal, Villa Seca, Las Rosas, Vista Flores, Los Sauces and Ciudad (department of Tunuyán), La Consulta, Eugenio Bustos, Tres Esquinas, San Carlos, El Cepillo, Chilecito and Las Pareditas (Department of San Carlos).
Apart from the viniculture, other economic activities are developed, such as the fruit growing –especially nuts, pears, apples and peaches-, the horticulture, the ranching and the cultivation of poplars, elms and other forest species. Besides, mining and oil industries development from the Uco Valley are well known.