Argentina is best known for malbec, but the country can do a spectacular pinot noir in the cooler regions. One of those regions is Patagonia, and it is perhaps the most southern grape growing region in the world.
It’s certainly not as well known as Mendoza, the home of most of the greatest Argentine malbecs. The combination of cool nights, temperate days, mountain vineyards and respectable water quantity from the melting snow, make for a great pinot noir terroir.
An example that I tried last week was the 2010 Humberto Canale Estate Pinot Noir from Patagonia’s Rio Negro province. The stuff is a little darker in color than your typical Californian pinot noir, and color extraction leads to aromas which forego California’s juiciness, and takes a more Burgundian direction. The aromas lean to dark fruit and pomegranate, with dark plums, cherry, tar and rhubarb on the nose.
The flavors are cherry and berry, and a bit of saddle leather character that French pinots flaunt. The price is $14 a bottle and Martin Wines out of Cincinnati can provide it to your retailer of restaurant.
Roger Gentile is the owner of Gentile’s, the Wine Sellers – www.gentiles.com – and the author of two books on wine.