Wapisa Pinot Noir 2017



True, and I understand – when I say Argentinian wine you think Malbec. And for good reason – Argentina makes great Malbec and for as long as I have been in the wine business, Malbec has been that country’s calling card into the world of fine wine.

But Argentina is a big country with vast differences in topography – from the inland jungle near Asuncion to the high dry desert of the upper Andes, to where today’s wine is from – Patagonia.

Wapisa winery, so named after the indigenous Patagonian word for whale, sits right on the Atlantic coast of southern Argentina. Here, not only do whales frequent the region (hence the whale tail rising up over the vineyard on the label) but also the soils and climate are unique to the region. The soils are a mixture of lime and clay, with almost no topsoil. The climate is cool and maritime, with ocean breeze that sweep through the vineyards. In a summation – the exact opposite of where most Malbec is grown. Yet these two factors make it perfect for Pinot Noir.

The soil delivers into the wine beautiful notes of raspberry, spiced black tea, and a touch of plum. The maritime influence brings to the wine a vivid minerality and mouth-watering palate driven by a textural minerality. The first glass is inviting, charming, and lush, but it’s the last glass that truly reveals the magical complexity of this wine. I’ve had it more than my fair share and to my amazement, it drinks even better the second day open. So certainly have no fear in drinking this wine straightaway, but I’m sure it will age beautifully in your cellar.

Wapisa is owned by Patricia Ortiz, so named “Rock Star Winemaker of Argentina” by Wine Enthusiast. She’s probably a bit embarrassed by that title as she was first nephrologist and second a wine consumer. But then (like me) her avocation became the first love and turned into a vocation. Wapisa is that love, and it shows in her world-class Pinot Noir.

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