Is Argentinian Pinot a Thing? Not Really But This Bottle Is Quite Fantastic
Bodega Chacra waves the heartbreak grape flag pretty much by themselves.
2016 Bodega Chacra Barda $41
I was in Argentina on a wine trip a few years back and throughout my time in Mendoza, all anyone could talk about was how Pinot was going to be Argentina’s next big grape. It was a bold assertion and it was more of less based solely on the buzz that this wine was creating in the somm community. It hailed from Patagonia, where it was thought, the cooler (than Mendoza at least) climate would finally allow Argentina to diversify it’s wine offerings.
But it never really happened. I’m not convinced the climate of this part of Patagonia is so great for Pinot—it can get awfully hot there—and when they do grow the grape it’s is, like it is in Oregon or Burgundy, very pricey. As in $41 a bottle pricey—a price point where you can buy a hell of a Malbec from Catena or Finca Decero. And while Chacra had the benefit of sourcing some amazing old vines, those that followed had to start from scratch in the hardpan desert of the region.
But why do I always find myself ordering this wine when I see it on a list, as I did a few months ago at Hawksworth, where I seem to recall it being very-reasonably priced? Because it’s just so damn delicious—a juggling act of cherry, wild strawberry and a hint of raspberry that never lets the exuberance of the fruit run wild and has a slightly leather-y finish. It’s a wine with a foot in both the old and new world and in some ways, while it’s a shame it didn’t start a revolution, it still remains a treat when I see it on a list.