Bodega Chacra, Rio Negro, Patagonia
Bodega Chacra’s remarkable primary vineyards were planted in 1932 and 1955.
Established in 2004 by Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, Bodega Chacra crafts exclusive Pinot Noir wines in the Río Negro Valley of northern Patagonia, in Argentina. Incisa della Rocchetta found the property with existing, though abandoned, Pinot Noir vines planted more than 79 years ago, producing tiny bunches of small, concentrated berries. Vines grow on their own rootstocks, believed to produce superior fruit to those of grafted vines. From this and other fruit, he crafts 100% biodynamic, organic, natural and unfiltered Pinot Noir. More recently, he has added classy, elegant merlot wines as well.
TO START: A REMARKABLE LOCATION
Bodega Chacra is located in the Río Negro Valley of northern Patagonia, roughly equidistant, west to east, from the Andes Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The region has an arid climate, but the valley is irrigated through a network of channels excavated in the late 1820s by British colonists, who directed the abundant snowmelt flowing from the Andes, creating an oasis in the middle of the desert. The air is pristine and without pollution, creating tremendous luminosity and purity of sunlight, and the region is protected from vine pests by the constant winds and by the natural barrier of the surrounding desert. Because of this isolation and the desert soils, phylloxera does not thrive here, and vines can be grown on their own rootstocks instead of being grafted, which is thought to produce a greater purity in the fruit. As a result of these remarkable geographical and climatic advantages, Bodega Chacra produces concentrated and complex wines of great purity that express flavours of flowers, fruits and minerals and have notable length.
DISCOVERING SINGULAR VINES
In 2004, Piero Incisa della Rocchetta purchased a plot of abandoned vines that had been planted in 1932 (Treinta y Dos) and founded Bodega Chacra. He renovated the vines using biodynamic practices, and in 2006 added two more vineyards to the estate: one planted in 1955 (Cincuenta y Cinco) and one planted in 1967. The oldest vineyards produce small bunches of ultra-concentrated berries that give a particular intensity to the wines made with them. On the ridge (Barda in Spanish) of the 1932 vineyard is a 20-year-old, 10-acre plot that contributes fruit to the wine named after it.
CONSTRUCTING AN ELEGANT WINERY
Hans Vinding-Diers, the Danish winemaker at nearby Bodega Noemía, was brought on from Bodega Chacra’s first vintages. Within a few years, a new gravity-flow winery building was completed. Its maximum capacity of 100,000 bottles per vintage is tailored to the handmade scale of Bodega Chacra’s wines, and its sandstone construction fits seamlessly into its surroundings, a fitting connection to the land that produces such pure and astonishing wines.