What We're Drinking Now: Wines of Patagonia
Sure, people are well aware of the Malbecs coming out of Mendoza, but the Patagonia region in the South of Argentina is producing exceptional wines as well...and not just Malbecs.
On one particularly inspired evening, we decided to venture outside of Mendoza and blind taste three wines from Patagonia. The 'big reveal' exposed the 2009 Barda Pinot Noir, the 2007 Bodega Noemia 'A Lisa' Malbec and the 2005 Saurus Merlot blend.
From this tasting, we determined that the main difference with wines from Patagonia is that they tend to be more rustic in style and higher in acidity than their Mendoza counterparts. We observed way heavier earth, spice and dried fruits in these wines as opposed to the fresh-baked fruit and soft earth tones that define most Mendoza wines.
Each wine we tasted was distinct and full of its own individual characteristics, but after blind tasting them all, the 'A Lisa' ended up the clear favorite. Its deep color, red fruit flavor and overall harmony of characteristics won us over instantly and continued to evolve through the tasting.
That said, we all really enjoyed the Pinot Noir too. Since Patagonia has much cooler temperatures, it is where many Argentine Pinot Noirs are grown . Even though Malbec is Argentina's flagship varietal, Patagonian Pinot's are just as well-made and offer a nice alternative for pairing with the smoky goodness of asado!
In all, we highly recommend keeping your eyes open for any wines coming out of Patagonia. Not only are these Southern gems high quality and delicious, but since the region hasn't exploded onto the international stage like Mendoza or Chilean wines yet, they may end up being a more interesting, less expensive South American selection. Salud!