The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Go-To-Wine: Bodega Chacra 2014 Pinot Noir Rio Negro Barda

Posted on | December 2, 2015 | Written by Stephane Menard | No Comments

patagonia llamas I just came back from a fantastic trip to Patagonia last month, visiting both Argentina and Chile. The landscapes were amazing, and the wine was incredible. My memories of this recent visit prompts me to talk today about a unique winery in the Argentinian part of Patagonia: Bodega Chacra.

The estate is the project of the superstar winemaker Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, the grandson of Mario Incisa, the man behind the world-famous Super-Tuscan wine, Sassicaia!  Just as his grandfather wanted to create a Bordeaux-style blend in Bolgheri, Piero had a dream of crafting a Pinot Noir wine outside of France. Piero discovered a fantastic site with an abandoned vineyard planted in 1932 in the the Rio Negro Valley of northern Patagonia, and he founded Bodega Chacra on that spot in 2004.

Bodega Chacra’s pre-existing vineyards hold pre-phylloxera old-vine Pinot Noir, and these vines are both ungrafted and free of clonal selection, which is very rare in the New World. Piero uses biodynamic agriculture in his vineyards, and continues his non-interventionist practice in the cellar using indigenous yeasts for the fermentation.

Recently, I got to enjoy the estate’s entry-level wine, Bodega Chacra 2014 Pinot Noir Rio Negro Barda. Made with declassified grapes from the other more prestigious bottlings of the estate as well as grapes from younger vines, this wine is tremendous value. The flagship wine from the estate, the “Trenta y Dos,” sells for $130 per bottle, but the Barda clocks in at just under $27. It’s a steal at that price.

Darker and denser than a classic Burgundy, the Barda has a beautiful dark ruby color. The nose features wild berries, red cherry and underlying notes of spice and black pepper–it could almost have some notes of top quality Morgon spice on the nose. The palate is very balanced and shows a beautiful acidity. The finish is medium to long; overall, this wine shows an impressive quality and very interesting flavor notes. I would pair it with a roast pork loin, mushrooms or simply enjoy it with friends with some charcuterie.

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