On Monday 19th October the WING group met to taste Wines from Patagonia, guided by Sue and Mike.

Patagonia is the most Southerly Argentinian Wine Region, nearly 1,000 miles South of the Mendoza, powerhouse of the Argentinian Wine industry. Patagonian produces something like 1/40th as much wine as the latter. It has a more temperate climate, longer days and cooler nights and a longer growing season, more appropriate to Pinot Noir and other “cool(er) climate grapes”.

Patagonia is made up of 3 sub regions: Río Negro, Nequén and La Pampa. They all have pretty much the same soil type, are cooled by the Antarctic and relatively dry. They and are all influenced by the drying winds, and relatively large day/night temperature differences which stimulates acidity and freshness and produces “bright, sculpted, structured but characterful wines” according to Jancis. There are some differences in in altitudes and rainfall which may or may not affect the wine styles…

Our presenters showed wines based on 3 grapes; in each case as a pair of wines from 2 different sub regions.

Here are my notes:

Desierto 25 Sauvignon Blanc 2014 – 14% (Bodega del Desierto, La Pampa)   – BBR £12
This winery is surrounded by desert, and near the town of 25 del Mayo – hence the names… This had a little SB grass but lots of melon and peach noteson the nose. The palate has a mineral, slightly soda-ish minerality with a green hint but peach fruit again. Warm long finish with a citric twist. Rather unlike most other SBs, but not bad for that, unusually sweet fruit though…

Intimo Sauvignon/Semillon 2014 – 13.5% (Humberto Canale, Río Negro)   – GWW £10
Herby, greens (by which I mean the vegetable served with meat and potatoes – not generic SB “green”) at first then an oily and sweeter note. Later the nose shows floral pungency – rather interesting… The palate has a pithy citric acidity that put me in mind of ugli fruit (haven’t seen that for a while!), with a nut-skin bitterness and a mineral finish. Dry, complex and food friendly – again unlike any similar versions from elsewhere – rather good!

Desierto 25 Pinot Noir 2013 – 14% (Bodega del Desierto, La Pampa)   – BBR £12.50
Slightly woody and herby with a plum fruit note. Palate has a dryish herby fruit with a sweet fruit tinge – cherry? Followed by a warm kirsch finish. Enjoyable, rustic for a PN but recognizable.

Selecion de Familia Pinot Noir 2012 – 14% (Humberto Canale, Río Negro)   – GWW £17.50
This was rather oxidized, brownish in colour with a brackish, porty nose covering more delicate raisin notes. The palate had dry, apple/sherry oxidized acidity under which a baked-plum flavour struggled. A pity, as I have had 2 or 3 previous vintages of this wine with some pleasure.

“Fin del Mundo” Cabernet Franc 2008 – 14.5% (Bodega del Fin del Mundo de la Inversora, Nequén )   – N. D. Johns £13.50
Earthy fruit nose, with sweet raspberries showing later and a floral hint. The palate has black pastille fruit with a green drying mineral finish. Apart from this, little to say “Cab Franc”, and the finish – big and warm with and almost Alentejo earthy thickness – seems to lean more to somewhere like Portugal…

Selecion de Familia Cabernet Franc 2012 – 13.5% (Humberto Canale, Río Negro) –  GWW £17
Green herby nose with a very sweet red fruit hit and spicy warmth. It keeps developing, quite complex. The palate has sweet fruit with a green acid tinge and great length. Very good, more typical Cab Franc with good structure and asking for food. Fray Bentos?? (BTW Fray Bentos – as well as being a meat pie brand, often with Argentinian beef in it – is the name of a town on the Río Negro… sadly for this witticism – on the Uruguay version of the river, not the Patagonian!) So maybe then: Corn Beef Hash???

A wonderfully interesting tasting, which showed how individual a wine region Patagonia is. As to discerning sub-regional differences, the length of establishment of the wineries seemed to be more of a factor, at least for me. Thanks so much Sue and Mike!

Until next time…