New Wines: Patagonia and Neighbors

Barda by Bodega Chacra, Argentina 2015
Malbec ain’t the only game in town… There’s more to Argentina than its famed Varietal and this Pinot Noir proves it. Barda has all the elegance and finesse one demands from a Pinot, with a little South American spice. While Pinot is not synonymous with Argentina, it’s not an anomaly. Fifty years ago, more than 4,000 acres of Pinot Noir were planted in Patagonia. Most of it went into sparkling wines, but by 2000 less than 500 acres of Pinot Noir remained in the region. Italian born Owner, Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, was drawn to the region and made his first vintage was 2004. He called it Chacra, a regional term meaning “farm.” He’s been bottling world class Pinot ever since with with a hands off wine making mantra and some hearty old vines.

Bonarda, Altos Las Hormigas, Argentina 2015
Bonarda is the second most plant grape in Argentina and is usually made with little or no oak. It thrives on the rich soils and generous climate of Argentina. The wine is dense, inky, and purple, with a rustic, hearty juiciness, ripe acidity, and warm tannins, perfect for BBQ. Altos Los Hormigas Bonarda is made with 100% Bonarda grapes from high-trellised vineyards located in a unique microclimate in the area of Medrano and Carrizal de Abajo, Mendoza. Aged in concrete tanks to preserve freshness.

Torrontes, Dos Minas, Argentina 2016
Dos Minas (“two chicks” in Argentine slang) is named for Lucía Romero & Heather Willens, the winemakers who brave the wild desert landscape of Cafayate to produce this high altitude wine from 65 year old vines. Only 1,000 cases are made of the Torrontés using grapes from 65-year old vines.

Cab Frac, Maquis, Chile 2014
Located in Colchagua Valley, the Hurtado family has owned the Vi¤a Maquis vineyard for more than a century, but it wasn’t until almost 15 years ago that the family decided to make their own wine out of the grapes in their own backyard. They built an incredible gravity flow winery and set out to make the Maquis winery one of the great properties in all of South America $$$.

Blanco de Pinot Noir, Bodega Aniello, 2016
Hmmm. White Pinot Noir? Taste this blind and cold for a real mindf*ck. Made by pressing Pinot noir with skin contact before fermentation (the ‘Blanc de Noir’ winemaking process typical of Champagne). 100% Pinot Noir from estate-owned vineyards in Patagonia where clay soil and a strong tendency to retain humidity allow for a slow and complete maturation of this early-ripening varietal.

by Kimberly Walker