Bodegas Noemia Reaching New Quality Heights in Patagonia – Tasting the A Lisa Malbec 2021…

Bodegas Noemia’s owner Hans Vinding-Diers is a South African born Dane whose father Peter produced some epic wines at Rustenberg in the 1970s. Indeed, Hans was born on the Rustenberg estate in Stellenbosch. To complete the vinous triangle, Hans is the cousin of that other renowned Danish winemaker, Peter Sisseck of the iconic Ribera del Duero winery Dominio de Pingus. What Hans has achieved at his remote Patagonian winery in the Rio Negro Valley 998km south of Buenos Aires in the middle of a desert is absolutely astonishing. In this barren region, viticulture is only made possible by channel irrigation excavated in the 1820s by British colonists with the Andes snowmelt fed rivers of Neuquén and Limay supplying the water for a growing season that varies in temperature between 28 and 9 degrees C.

For most of Argentina’s wine regions, 2021 was a cooler vintage which brought its own challenges but also offered the potential for fresher styles of wine. Covid restrictions were still in place for the 2021 vintage in Argentina although, after their experience of 2020, wine producers were much better equipped to deal with the extra challenges. In southern Argentina, in Patagonia’s Rio Negro and Neuquén regions, winemakers reported a relatively dry, windy summer with warm daytime temperatures and cooler nights. This combination of conditions for the harvest 2021 led to wines with piercing concentration but also wonderfully fresh acidities with lower pHs. Tasting this wine with Hans’s UK importer, The Wine Treasury, we all agreed that this is possibly the finest vintage of the A Lisa Malbec to date. Definitely a wine worth buying to experience the dramatic quality from the remote Patagonia region.

Bodegas Noemia A Lisa Malbec 2021, Patagonia, 14% Abv.

The A Lisa from Bodegas Noemia is always an impressive glass of wine, but with the 2021 vintage, we see an exceptionally exuberant expression of Malbec marked by intensely perfumed aromatics and a piercingly vibrant palate. The nose is rich, detailed and opulent with exotic notes of violets, sweet rose petals, black plum, sweet herbs, black cherry and intense layers of sweet crème de cassis with a salty black liquorice graphite hint. Packed full of juicy red and black berry fruits, the palate displays an incredible intensity that really elevates this vintage above previous releases. Sumptuously soft, luxuriously fleshy, there is an alluring brightness, a fruit precision and a tight knit acid focus that makes for a very sophisticated offering indeed. Drink now and over the next 5 to 8+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Attending the London Launch of Bodegas Noemia’s New Releases with Owner ~ Winemaker Hans Vinding-Diers…

I have been buying the impressively individual Patagonian Malbecs from Bodegas Noemia for several years. But unlike the swathes of other Argentinian Malbecs on the market, however well made and enjoyable to drink they may be, many lack that extra individuality, tension, freshness, finesse and complexity. These are all the characteristics that for me, typify the wines made by Hans Vinding-Diers.

Listening to Hans speak is such a privilege as he conveys so animatedly, his passion and determination to make the very best wines possible, very much in the same vein that other winemaking greats do such as Dirk Niepoort in Portugal or indeed his cousin, Peter Sisseck of Dominio de Pingus in Spain.

The new releases for Bodegas Noemia included the new, never before tasted, 2016 A Lisa in its new style Burgundy bottle, the J.Alberto Malbec 2015, and lastly the hotly anticipated Noemia 2015 old vine Malbec.

Bodegas Noemia A Lisa Malbec 2016, Patagonia, 13 Abv.

The new bottle shape seems to be in recognition that this wine is pulling in a different direction to most Malbecs. Pie Franco vines from selection massale, grown on sandy soils from multiple selected vineyards, yearns to be more Burgundy than Bordeaux. Still in a very youthful posture, the nose is rich and spicy with layers of cedar and sappy spice, stem ginger, clove and boxwood. In its Burgundian guise, the wine is impressively elegant and fragrant, showing violets, incense and waxy red berry fruit lift. The palate possess a wonderful, delineated texture, being formed of a 75% stainless steel portion and a 25% portion aged in 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill French oak barrels for 9 months. This new release is superbly suave, elegantly fleshy, and true to its feminine form. A great buy for the price point. 

(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

J.Alberto Malbec 2015, Patagonia, 13.5 Abv.

This stalwart of the range is a 95% Malbec and 5% Merlot blend from a 4 hectare vineyard that has been farmed organically and biodynamically since 2006. 30% was aged in cement tank and 70% in second fill French oak. Vines were planted in 1955 on gravel and clay, with alluvial riverbed soils. At 1.8 meters depth, the vines hit the slightly saline water table, anecdotally adding a slight salty twang to the musts. The 2015 is voluptuously rich, dark and broody with notes of incense, spice, bramble berry, cassis and sweet Victoria plum. There is such a dense texture, an opulent fleshy mocha tinged mulberry depth and a beautifully complex breadth. This is a seriously impressive wine with focus, balance and length. 

(Wine Safari Score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Bodegas Noemia 2015, Patagonia, 14.5 Abv.

I recently reviewed the amazing 2012 from Hans and the wine still lingers in the back of my mind. Again, this is another 100% Malbec from the designated 1.5 hectare old vine Malbec vineyard planted in 1932. Cropped at only 30 hectolitres per hectare, this premium wine displays a rich, intense broody nose of black plum, cassis, and strawberry confit, with a really dense core and intensity. The nose draws you in and holds you transfixed. 33% new French oak in 600 litre barrels is used making the palate seamless, harmonious and creamy but also with such impressive balance and finesse. The wine has a start but no defined finish, with complex, opulent flavours that just linger on, and on, and on! Such subtlety, this wine really shows a happy vineyard made by a happy winemaker. A real beauty. (Bottled December 2016)

(Wine Safari Score: 97+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Argentina Coming of Age ~ Tasting Bodegas Noemia 2012 from Patagonia… 

There is obviously a rich vein of South African wine content reviewed regularly on this blog. But even when I try and divert my stare, some kind of South African connection seems to find a way of sneaking into my non-SA wine reviews. Bodegas Noemia’s Hans Vinding-Diers is a South African born Dane who’s father Peter produced some epic wines at Rustenberg in the 1970s. Indeed, Hans was born on the Rustenberg estate in Stellenbosch. To complete the triangle, Hans is the cousin of renowned Danish winemaker Peter Sisseck.

Having made wine all over the world, Bordeaux trained Hans now plies his trade in the Rio Negro Valley 998km south of Buenos Aires in the middle of a desert. In this barren region, viticulture is only made possible by channel irrigation excavated in the 1820s by British colonists. The Andes snow-melt fed rivers of Neuquen and Limay supply the water for a growing season that varies in temperature between 28 and 9 degrees C.

After initially consulting for a local Patagonian winery, a two year search yielded the 1.5 hectare Mainque Vineyard of ancient and abandoned mostly Malbec vines planted in the 1930s and 1950s. In partnership with Countess Noemi Marone Cinzano, Bodegas Noemia produces three wines from fruit certified biodynamic since 2008. The range consists of Bodegas Noemia A Lisa, the J.Alberto and the flagship Noemia.

Bodegas Noemia Malbec 2012, Patagonia

Combining concentration and elegance, this wine is produced from 100% Malbec from 74 year old vines, which are aged for 18 months in new French oak. The 2012 has a deep purple black colour still and a nose of opulent floral savoury sappy black fruits, botanical herbs, burnt sugar, sweet plums, and strawberry confit. A real concentration of sweet berry fruits balanced by a bold, pronounced crisp acidity. There is beautiful complexity of sweet cherry, savoury cured meats, black berries, blood oranges and cognac spice. A powerful wine with precise refined tannins, fine freshness and an underlying mineral backbone on a very long finish. So characterful, slightly extrovert, but classically opulent. A masterclass in Malbec. 

(Wine Safari Score: 97/100 Greg Sherwood MW)