Bodega Chacra was founded in 2004 by Piero Incisa della Rocchetta (grandson of the Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, founder of Sassicaia), when he bought a property with an existing, though abandoned, vineyard planted in 1932. Fittingly named after the word for farm or “land sown with seed” in Quechua, a local indigenous language, this property is in the Rio Negro Valley in Northern Patagonia.
The oldest vines (from the 1930s) are own-rooted on an alluvial fan—this idyllic, arid climate has virtually no pollution or vine disease. The soil of the Rio Negro Valley, an ancient riverbed composed of limestone, sand, and clay, coupled with the valley’s pristine pollution-free air and tremendous luminosity, make for ideal conditions to grow Pinot Noir.
Piero’s first vintage was 2006, and this organic and biodynamic estate has achieved otherworldly success with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in only a few years. The first vintage for the Chardonnays—a collaboration between Piero and Jean-Marc Roulot—was 2017. The two Chardonnays are essentially two separate terroirs. Chacra Chardonnay comes from a single vineyard of 40-year-old vines, and Mainqué is three parcels. The soils of the Mainqué Chardonnay parcels are a touch sandier, with a combination of sand, clay, and pebbles covered in calcareous matter.
It’s worth noting that the revolution in the Maremma started with Piero’s family, and when we look back at Patagonia in 20 or 30 years, the parallels may be uncanny. Recent vintages have received scores that might make Sassicaia jealous.