A Note from Sergio
Piero Incisa della Rochetta is remarkably laid back. For all his dry sense of humor, he's one of those men who seems to accept things as they come, to exist in a state of Zen calm, and to take everything that happens as a learning experience. This kind of personality can serve winemakers especially well because so much is out of their hands--and in those of Mother Nature. Perhaps growing up the nephew of Nicolo Incisa della Rochetta and seeing the evolution of Sassicaia's wines year after year gave Piero a sense of acceptance, but he's become yet more relaxed, more assured, and more trusting of nature as the years have gone on.
And the wines he makes at his estate Bodega Chacra in Patagonia, Argentina reflect those changes.
In 2004, birds ate most of the grapes at Bodega Chacra. Piero took the loss as a chance to learn something new because, after all, he realized he couldn't control nature; he could only work with it. A winemaker who believes in the importance of nature taking its own course, Piero worked harder on his vineyards, and rather than being dissuaded by the 04 bird disaster, Piero grew more committed to his choice to grow biodynamically and to trust nature. He made sacrifices in the present for a pay-off in the future, trusting in his old vines and the tedious tasks of cutting, clipping and all the boring stuff of viticulture so that nature--and healthy vines--would reward his efforts.
In 2010, Piero got the chance to learn another lesson from nature. A freaky frost in the Cincuenta y Cinco vineyards did some minimal damage early on, but then a hailstorm hit just before harvest. The hail bounced off the healthy canopy of leaves, but the estate decided to harvest early, even if the grapes looked undamaged. This early harvest set the protocol for the rest of the vineyards. "The hail gave us a window into an unknown path--we followed the path the same road," Piero said. Nature led; he took a chance and followed.
It looks like he made a good choice. Since the early vintages of Bodega Chacra, the wines have evolved, integrated and come into their own. The early vintages were like gangly teenagers with great promise and captivating vitality, but the 2010 vintages stand like a man--integrated, seamless, relaxed and remarkable. They're like the guys you have dinner with and share those symphonic conversations that transition seamlessly between banter and philosophy, between joking and life. Nature was really good to Piero and Bodega Chacra in 2010, but that's kind of like saying that life was good to him too. Neither would be wrong.
I'm delighted to introduce to you the 2010 vintage of Bodega Chacra's Pinot Noirs--along with the 2009 Merlot Mainque. These Pinots are Piero's favorite vintage to date, and I can understand why. These are wines that speak softly and carry a really long-lasting finish. Coming in at under 12% alcohol, these are wines that put texture, experience and nuance over giant, pyrotechnic palates. They're subtle, interesting, and self-assured. These are a man's wines, in the best, most mature, and egoless way possible. Open a bottle and toast to change, to maturity and trusting in your ability to weather that which you cannot control.
P.S. You can now follow me on Twitter: @Italian_Wine_SE.