Chacra Pinot Noir Cincuenta y Cinco 2021
WA99: The élevage for the 2021 Cincuenta y Cinco was different from the past; they have now aged 40% in concrete tanks (it used to be 25%), 40% in French oak barrels and 20% in clay amphorae for nine months. They use cover crops in the vineyard, where they don't even use sulfur or copper. It fermented in a round and wide concrete vat with indigenous yeasts for 12 to 15 days with full clusters and an infusion with little extraction. It has moderate ripeness and 12% alcohol, with more tension than the others. This is basically the same wine as the Sin Azufre but with a little more oak, which is barely noticeable but with some spiciness and Burgundian character developing tantalizing notes of violet pastille with time in the glass. It has a bright ruby color and a complex and subtle nose full of elegance and nuance. The palate is medium-bodied, with very fine tannins and supple flavors, primary, young and apparently weightless and ethereal but full of inner energy. It has bright flavors of fresh cherries and raspberries and a citrus twist of orange peel that adds freshness. Gobsmacking! 30,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in November 2021.
Chacra is the fully certified organic and biodynamic project in Río Negro (Patagonia) from Piero Incisa della Rocchetta (you might recognize the Sassicaia surname here). He works 25 hectares of red grapes and a further 15 hectares of Chardonnay, all ungrafted and massal selections in Mainqué. Four years ago, they stopped using any chemicals in the vineyard, even sulfur, and have increased the number of beehives and replaced the capsules by beeswax. He has lowered the use of barrels (almost none new) and increased amphorae and concrete, aiming at enhancing the floral, mineral and energy aspects of their wines. They have built a new underground barrel room with bricks made out of local clay and stopped the use of refrigeration, instead using the natural temperature and also humidity (and salt from the river). Evaporation there is lower, and he finds the wines age better. He has also planted a further 30,000 poplar trees to give shade to the vines. Production varies between 125,000 and 135,000 bottles, depending on the vintage. For the white wines, he has the help of Jean-Marc Roulot.