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Criolla Grande grapes

by Dec 21, 20160 comments

Criolla Grande is a grape variety which produces white wine and is commonly seen in Argentina.

Criolla Grande

There’s a lot of difference between this variety and the wine grape Pais from Chile, also called Criolla Chica, but wine ampelographers consider that both of these grapes have a common parent, and presently is categorized as a hybrid formed between Muscat of Alexandria and Mission.

Wine grape varieties

The Criolla Grande is a type of grape variety which is not very well recognized by the majority of the consumers of wine. Although, it is in fact one of the most commonly planted grape varieties in the world.

Criolla Grande is a result of a mutation and is responsible for the production of vast quantities of white and rose wines with varied quality, texture and character.

Origin and History of Wine

This grape variety is kept under the group of varieties of Criollas. Along with the California’s mission grape and Pais of Chile, the grape is considered as a descendant of the common black grape of Spain brought by – Hernan Cortes, a Spanish Conquistador in 1520 in Mexico.

Even though, earlier it had been thought that Criolla Grande was introduced into America as such, the existence of Mission in its lineage makes it probable that the hybridization leading to Criolla Grande was done in America.

Regions where it is grown

Until 2006, this grape variety was the 3rd most commonly grown wine grape of Argentina with about 22,500 hectares after the grape varieties Cereza which is spread around 30,000 hectares and Malbec which is spread around 24,400 hectares and is more commonly exported.

This grape variety is mainly found in the region of Mendoza. The skin of the grape is pinkish in color and is very thick. Rarely the grape is exported out of Argentina where it us utilized for the production of large quantities of jug and box wines. It is used for the yield simple wines in massive production.


Criolla Grande is famous under the following synonyms: Criolla San Juanino, Italia, Uva Tierna, Criolla Sanjuanina, Sanjuanina Rosada and Criolla Grande Sanjuanina.


The harvest in the region of Mendoza usually starts from end of February to April. There are many factors which decide the exact time of harvest such as: systems utilized in the vineyards like high trellises or get protection from hail which may reduce the ripening, weather conditions and the judgment of the winemaker.

After the start of the harvest, all the grapes should be in during 6-8 weeks. This grape variety produces low quality wines, but in high yields. And it is advised to be utilized early in comparison to other wines which are more perfect when aged.

The Criolla Grande grape vines show a good resistance to several kinds of environmental stress like high concentrations of salt, low availability of water than several grape varieties of traditional Europe.

Probably these grape varieties have been chosen by the leading viticulturists for these characteristics, which made them simpler to grow in vineyards of early South America.

Characteristics of Wine

This grape variety typically ripens late and grows in loose and big bunches of thick skinned berries. The wines produced from the Criolla Grande grape are typically light to medium bodied with nice acidity, thus it is among one of the most commonly grape in Argentina.

Due to the deep white colors, low tannin content and high acidity, this wine gives out herbaceous taste and wild flowers.

Criolla Grande wine which is famous for its balance can achieve both- high alcohol contents as well as refreshing and crisp palate, which are an uncommon distinction to possess, given that these both attributes do not coexist usually.

The wine produced by the Criolla Grande grape is generally blended with the Criolla Chica wine which is the Californian variety of Mission or the Cereza.

Food Pairings with Wine

Criolla Grande is a nice sweet wine which can be paired with any sweet dessert or some mild spicy flavored dishes.

Since the South American cuisine is a blend of the traditional American style and Latin American style, Criolla Grande is thus naturally developed to be used with rustic Latin food. Some Peruvian and Chilean foods are a delight with it too.

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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