Today’s Story: Bodega Chacra
Bodega Chacra was established in the Río Negro region of Patagonia in 2004 by Piero Incisa della Rocchetta. Piero is the grandson of Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta who created Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia) and fostered the foundation of his understanding of wine. At Chacra, Piero’s goal is to create transparent, honest wines that showcase his unique terroir through organic and biodynamic viticulture. To this end, Piero refuses to use any artificial fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides in the vineyards and rather resorts to vegetable and mineral preparations added to compost. The estate’s compost consists of fruit skins, autumn leaves, and natural guano produced by the animals who live there, as well as an assortment of biodynamic preparations that most wine consumers would probably cringe over. (For a description of these preparations and their functions, check out the Chacra website here.) Chacra’s vineyards produce low yields to begin with, though at harvest they carefully select the best fruit and leave the rest for the birds or other wildlife to encourage biodiversity. Maceration and fermentation occur in small tanks with an emphasis on skin contact, and the wines age in extra fine grain French oak barrels.
I highly encourage you to check out the Chacra main page here to explore their history and practices further, as well as look at the extensive picture gallery.
Today’s Wine: 2018 Mainqué Chardonnay
100% Chardonnay; 12.5% ABV
The 2018 Mainqué Chardonnay is a gorgeous medium to deep gold in color changing to water white near the rim. This needs some time to open up, but once it does the nose showcases aromas of lemon, crisp golden apple, pear, honeysuckle, straw, matchstick, wax, vanilla, and cotton candy. On the palate, I get notes of white peach, lemon citrus, pineapple, snap pea, almond, cream, honey, white pepper, and stony minerality. Full-bodied with an unbelievably supple mouthfeel and medium (+) acidity into a long finish.
Price: I paid $50, but it looks like there are a few stores in New York closer to $40-45. Nonetheless, this is easily the best Chardonnay I’ve had in a while and in value terms is certainly worth its price (even if you hit $50 like me). The precision, expression of fruit, and elegance of this wine makes you think high quality Burgundy (coincidence Jean-Marc Roulot collaborates?). Pair this with rosemary lemon chicken, salmon, or spring vegetables.