Ever since it was first described as 'the end of the earth' by Charles Darwin - ironic in a way, since it inspired a book called 'On the Origin of Species' - Patagonia has had mythic status for its remoteness and awe-inspiring beauty. It is now emerging as a source of unique wines with a too-good-to-be-true story - one of the least populated and least polluted habitats on earth, the Andes, endless windswept plains, dinosaur bones, penguins - and now, astonishingly, wine.
Bodega Noemía is a collaboration between Danish winemaker Hans Vinding-Diers and Countess Noemi Marone Cinzano. Hans Vinding-Diers (whose cousin is Peter Sisseck of Pingus and Hacienda Monasterio fame) is the winemaker for the estate. The project is new, but intriguingly viticulture in Patagonia is not: Bodega Noemia was inspired by the discovery of a small plot of old vine, pre-phylloxera Malbec in the Río Negro Valley, where almost non-existent rainfall and incessant breezes make vine diseases virtually unknown.
Bodega Noemía routinely receives rave reviews, top scores and Wine & Spirits Magazine again selected the estate as one of its Top 100 Wineries of 2015. Noemia produces brilliant Malbec, Malbec blends, Rosé, and a single vineyard, old vines Cabernet. A Lisa is a blend of Malbec, Merlot, and sometimes Petit Verdot, combining estate and fruit purchased from neighbours. All the fruit is hand-picked. Fermentation takes place in a combination of cement vats and stainless steel tanks. Elevage follows in a combination of cement, 3rd and 4th use oak barrels and stainless steel. It is delicious, age worthy and tremendous value.
The J. Alberto is 95 percent Malbec with 5 percent Merlot from a 4 hectare vineyard planted in 1955. The Merlot and Malbec are interspersed in the same vineyard and are picked and vinified together. All the fruit is harvested by hand in accordance to the lunar cycle (the estate is certified Biodynamic by both Demeter and Argencert) and then de-stemmed berry by berry. The goal is to attain the highest possible quality with the least possible intervention, producing wine that is a true reflection of its pristine environment. Fermentation takes place in cement vats and elevage in a combination of oak barrels, cement vats and cement eggs. The wine is classically structured, with a dense core of ripe brambly fruit balanced by uplifting, bright acidity - a function of the extreme thermal amplitude in the region, where, throughout the growing season hot days are coupled with very cold nights.
The estate's top wine is Bodega Noemía. It is 100 percent Malbec from massale selected pre-phylloxera vines on a 1.5 ha plot planted in 1932. Again the fruit is harvested by hand in accordance to the lunar cycle and is certified Biodynamic. Fermentation takes place in cement vats and elevage in oak barrels. This is brilliant, world class wine resulting from amazing terroir, old vines, Biodynamic farming and impeccable attention to detail in the winery.