To say the Malbec of Argentina’s Mendoza region is highly-adored is an understatement. It’s one of the most exported wines from the country, yet it’s surprising to find that Rio Negro only comprises 20% of the vineyards.
As one of the top 5 wine producers in the world, Argentina exports mostly reds. It would be criminal to assume that none of the other reds on the roster are as divine as the much-prized Malbec. In fact, one of the most masterful grapes to thrive in the Rio Negro’s cooler climate is Pinot Noir.
If you’ve found love with Argentinian Malbec, it’s time to take a taste of the Pinot Noir. The key is in choosing bottles that come from Rio Negro. In other parts of the country, this varietal is prone to the elements, rendering a less-than-notable tasting. But from Rio Negro, the dry climate is ideal. With hot summers and cold winters, there is plenty of consistency in cultivating the perfect vines.
Warm days give way to cold nights and thus, a lengthy growing season ensues that gives balance for rich fruit flavor and prime acidity. Alluvial soils of gravel and limestone are well-drained, making it easier for those tending the vineyards to control water. The result breeds some of the most elegant Pinot Noir in the country.
Inspiration seems to have been drawn from New Zealand’s similar Pacific breezes though in Rio Negro, the Atlantic is the defining characteristic. You get a light wine with earthy tones and a firm-footed acidity that surprises in the most pleasant of ways, making one realize that Malbec shouldn’t be getting all the adoration.
Argentina’s Rio Negro Pinot Noir might just be the perfect red. It’s deep in color and rich, a different contrast from what you find with this varietal in other parts of the country. Bold styles and tastes are commanding the attention of Argentinian Malbec lovers. As wine drinkers take notice, more Pinot Noir is being planted to meet the growing demand.
The biggest chance for the growth of Pinot Noir in the region will be from the north in the US. Americans love Malbec from Argentina yet many tend to assume quality with the reds. This will be a pivotal point for Rio Negro’s Pinot Noir to set an example, one akin to that of New Zealand’s Pinot Noir perfection that has taken the world by storm.
Astonishingly, the prices are rather reasonable even for a bottle produced by one of the most popular wineries, Bodega Chacra. Choose a bottle and discover something new to love about Argentina!