For many years now I have wanted to work a vintage in South America. The more well known choices would be Argentina and Chile, probably the most popular being the Mendoza region of Argentina. Truth be told, Mendoza never piqued my interest, not because they aren’t making great wines, but mostly because it is a warmer growing climate. The wines therefore are representative of that heat – riper flavors and higher alcohols. That combination can make excellent wines, but our winemaking style at Carhartt is very different from that, and my track record in other parts of the world has been in cool- climate regions, usually producing fresher style wines with higher acidity and lower alcohols. Quite often these are Pinot Noir producing sections of the world. With that said, I decided to focus my attention on cooler climate areas of Argentina, which brought me to the south, specifically Patagonia. Patagonia is a large region that actually reaches far into Chile also, but I knew I wanted to work in Argentina, so I did my research.
After many emails back and forth, I finally secured a job at Bodega Chacra, a primarily Pinot Noir producing winery, with a biodynamic farm and some of the best wines in the country (obviously subject to personal opinion).
Now not only does most of the world not know anything about Patagonian wines, neither do a large portion of Argentines! The fact is that most wines drinkers in Argentina drink big Malbecs or Cab-Malbec blends. Pinot is barely on the radar, and so Patagonia is not really in the limelight – exactly my type of place!!
If you would like to learn more about the winery, just google “Bodega Chacra,” pretty cool history! The gist of it is, they make 3 main Pinots – Barda (a field blend I think), Cincuenta y Cinco (a vineyard planted in 1955), and Treinta y Dos (a vineyard planted in 1932). They also make a rose, and a single varietal Merlot.
You might be thinking that I am making wine on a glacier in Patagonia – not quite! The Rio Negro valley is actually a desert climate that has warm days and cool nights. Hopefully if we finish work early I can explore the region beyond the winery, but we will see.
All in all this is a great opportunity for me. Not only do I get to further my knowledge under the guidance of a great winery, but I get to work in a region that is atypical, unknown, and up and coming!
I will be writing a short blog to document my time here, accompanied by pictures to give a visual of my experience. Please excuse any poor grammar or lack of in depth descriptions. I need to focus on my work here, but I wanted to make sure that those who were interested got a taste of my adventure in this new environment! I will be instagramming my journey on the @carharttvineyard account, and will be using #chaseingpatagonia17 to compile my pics in one album.
I will be back in the states in late April, so down here for 2 months. Thank you for your interest in my work, it means a lot! I hope you enjoy!