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Bodega Chacra is located in the Rio Negro Valley of northern Patagonia, 620 miles south of Buenos Aires, roughly equidistant west to east from the Andes Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. It is an idyllic region for grape growing notable for the absence of phylloxera and vine diseases. Due to the region's remoteness the air is unbelievably pristine, creating tremendous luminosity and intensity of sunlight. In 2004 Piero Incisa della Rocchetta purchased the first of three vineyards that have now...
In 2004, Piero Incisa della Rocchetta purchased the first of Bodega Chacra's vineyards, a property with an existing, though abandoned, vineyard planted in 1932. This singular vineyard of gnarled Pinot Noir vines, planted on their own rootstocks, is head trained and produces tiny bunches of small, concentrated berries. The vineyard's pale, dry, porous soils are dominated by gravel and coarse alluvial pebbles with significant limestone content. Irrigation is carried out at most five times during the vine cycle, with a single copper sulfate treatment.
The berries are placed whole, without crushing, in the fermentation vat, where the weight of the grapes near the top of the vat crushes some of those at the bottom of the vat. This method, which shares similarities with carbonic maceration, allows the wine to express the subtle, complex and finely textured tannins characteristic of very old vines. Fermentation is initiated spontaneously by indigenous yeasts, and lasts approximately three weeks at an average temperature of 78.8F (26C). During fermentation, a layer of carbon dioxide blankets the surface of the cap, which is neither pumped over nor punched down. Once the alcoholic fermentation is complete, the wine is transferred off the skins into small Burgundian oak barrels. Malolactic fermentation begins spontaneously once the wine is in barrel, and is completed in roughly six months. A small amount of free sulfur is then added to kill any stray yeasts or bacteria.