Piero Incisa, whom I met in Burgundy in 2010, is allowing me to work harvest for a few days at his Bodega Chacra winery this year. Piero’s grandfather started the Sassicaia estate in the early 1960s, because he wanted to make a wine for friends and family, made from Bordeaux grape varieties. (Sassicaia is made from 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, the balance Cabernet Franc. It wasn’t available commercially until 1968, and it is the only single-estate DOC in all of Italy.)
Piero loves Sassicaia – but his greatest passion is for Pinot Noir. He tasted a Pinot Noir from Patagonia back in 2001, and something in the wine spoke to him. He set out to explore the area in search of his own vineyard. He found an old estate comprised of abandoned vineyards of ungrafted Pinot Noir vines, and he decided to purchase the estate, rejuvenate the vineyards using biodynamic techniques, and make wine there.
Yesterday, my first at the winery, we worked during them morning, then, tasted through the 2012 wines. They are at various stages in fermentation – some were still grape juice, while others tanks had finished fermentation and need to be pressed.
The winery’s main fermentation room is offset by a much smaller room, located towards the back of the winery. Here, Piero is experimenting with cement fermentation eggs (cement tanks, much smaller that regular fermentation tanks, built in the shape of large eggs and ideal for the motion created by fermentation). In this room, he is also experimenting with whole cluster and destemmed grapes, in various combinations.
I’m curious to know more. We will head to the vineyards shortly with Polo, Piero’s estate manager. He is going to give us a tour of the vineyards and the estate, to show us the nuances of Bodega Chacra and biodynamic farming techniques.