• Tim Kuepfer

A County Winemaker at Large, in Patagonia, Argentina

Candace Battig, a member of the Broken Stone Winery crew, is spending the summer in Patagonia, Argentina at Bodega Noemia  where she is working in their lab and creating some cutting edge Pinot Noir.   She joins us as a guest blogger…

“There’s energy in the wine”, says Hans as he pulls a sample for tasting from the 2015 Noemia barrels. And he’s right — there is an energy in the wines of Bodega Noemia. Produced from biodynamic grapes picked at their peak ripeness the wines have an energy about them.

Visiting yet another southern wine region on the brink of the growing season, I have cemented my conviction that the best wine comes from grapes that are grown on the edge. These liminal places provide the perfect combination of climate and earth to create the most incredible fruit — and from incredible grapes comes divine wine.

It’s every winemakers aspiration to capture the energy of a season and the place in the wines they produce and there is no better grape to do this with than Pinot Noir. A noble grape in its own right, Pinot Noir is notoriously fickle and requires the guidance of a winemaker to express its full potential. That spicy nose mixed with cherries and cranberries is irresistible. Pinot’s silky tannins and smooth acidity provide the perfect backdrop for expressing its terroir, whether it’s the chalky fractured limestone of Hillier or the mineral-rich alluvial soil Patagonian desert. Maybe that’s why so many people love Pinot Noir, it really does give you an expression of the place.

Speaking of places, I can’t help noticing the similarities of PEC to this winery in the Patagonian desert. Much like PEC, the desert is dotted with small towns with their own unique characters and people. It also has the same “County” hospitality. The people are warm, friendly and inviting happy to welcome you and share their lives with you. There is also a vineyard dog, Bonbo.  I’m starting to think that owning a dog is a precursor to having your own winery (watch out Tim, if I get a dog you know what’s coming!).

In all this reminiscing I can’t help but feel wistful to enjoy a glass of Broken Stone Pinot Noir right now. I’m sure though once I’m home Tim and I will be able to enjoy a glass while catching up and planning for the season ahead!

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