One of the newbies in the store this week is A Lisa Malbec from Bodega Noemia of Patagonia. The finest wine region in the world is Burgundy, France and according to the narrative, Patagonia, at the opposite end of the globe, is supposed to be the new Burgundy. Or something like that. Anyway, we have yet to taste anything from there that lives up to the hype.
In our research we have learned that Patagonia is huge; as in, twice the size of California. And it extends 200 miles over both southern Chile and Argentina, reaching almost to the Atlantic Ocean. It's a huge desert relying on meltaway from the Andes for sustenance.
Two rivers define the Patagonian wine country, the Neuquen and Rio Negro. Our A Lisa vineyards lie near the borough of Mainque on the Rio Negro which, looking at the map of Argentina, puts it pretty much dead center. Going back to our assertion in the last paragraph - This place is so huge, maybe you have to find a place like Mainque in the vast desert to make world class wine. Like I said earlier, much of what we have tasted from there doesn't particularly impress. But then again, they're comparing it to Burgundy.
Patagonia lies below Mendoza on the map and altitude-wise. Mendoza is a plateau featuring the highest vineyards in the world. Patagonia comes in at barely 1,000 feet above sea level. Like Mendoza and every other great wine region, the diurnal effect of warm days/cool nights works in Patagonia to extend the growing season, slowly ripening grapes and accentuating varietal character and acidity.
Patagonian wines are said to be more European in style than what Mendoza does. This one has a plum violet color; a nose of minerally dark berries and cherries; a structured medium body; a balanced vibrant palate of cherry and cassis with fine acidity and a long fruity finish. The grapes for this wine are sourced from organically farmed old-vine vineyards. They are fermented for ten days in stainless steel before the wine is aged by rotating it between oak barriques and stainless steel barrels.
We have sold A Lisa in the past but had never tasted it. Now we have and it's quite tasty. It doesn't hurt either that the pricing on this one has moved in the right direction. Think of A Lisa as a Thanksgiving dinner option.