Chacra Barda Pinot Noir: Patagonian excitement
When in Argentina few months ago for the Best Sommelier in the World competition I tasted quite a few wines, visited wineries and participated in an extended tasting covering all styles and prices. Everyone knows that Malbec is the dominant variety that has put Argentina in the wine map but I found the most excitement elsewhere in the Cabernet Franc (El Enemigo and Casarena) and Patagonian Pinot Noir.
It goes without saying that I have nothing against Malbec, having tasted some great examples coming from Achaval Ferrer, Trapiche from Terroir Series and other top producers, yet most of the wine is sometimes in my eyes perhaps too obvious, forward and ripe. On the other hand I have just tasted a newly imported wine in Greece from Bodegas Chacra in Patagonia, located in the southern part of Argentina, in the Rio Negro Valley which was adorable and fresh at the same time.
The Basics: Rio Negro rises up to 750 m height and is regarded one of the most exciting, coolish terroirs (diurnal temperature reaches even 20ºC) best suited for Pinot Noir, elegant Malbecs and Cab Franc, while Chacra is since 2004 a Piero Incisa della Rocchetta project. Own rooted vines, dry soils, hand harvest and hand destemmed fruit followed by spontaneous fermentation and no mechanization used at any stage of the production process. Maturation takes place in 20% new oak coming from three barrelmakers in Burgundy.
The wine: Barda Pinot Noir 2015 is a blend of grapes that did not make it to the single-vineyard wines as well as another vineyard planted in 1932. Medium ruby colour with a fruity nose showing balance of ripeness and freshness. Complex scents of black cherries, exotic spice and some vegetal hints on the nose. Elegant voice on the palate delivering a lot of flavour, raspberries and earthy dimension. Lots of flavour despite the wine's low alcohol of 12.8% . Excellent, effortless and stylish with very bright acidity and cool climate character. 91