HE SAYS: Our second visit in Luján de Cuyo was at Bodega Carmelo Patti, another boutique winery. Carmelo comes from the old school of wine making and clearly enjoys what he is doing. He’s very warm and friendly and a gracious host. He doesn’t speak much English – and we didn’t speak much Spanish – but we managed to understand most of what he was saying because of the context. (SHE INTERJECTS: he used a little Italian to make it easier on me.)
Carmelo basically runs a one-man operation, doing most of the work himself and hiring help at harvest season and when it’s time to bottle the wine. So he oversees the vineyards, winemaking, bottling and even acts as tour guide. He showed us his cement fermentation tanks and barrel and bottle storage areas and and gave us a terrific barrel sample.
And how many red wine specialists do you know who also make a fine sparkling wine from pinot noir and chardonnay in the method champenoise, but we didn’t get to sample that. The tasting was free and it was definitely worth a visit.
SHE SAYS: What a doll. If you are in Mendoza area, you absolutely MUST visit Carmello Patti. Charming, funny and very, very gracious. He acts as if he’s known you his entire life. He has Spanish & Italian heritage and all the gracious qualities of both cultures live in Carmello.
Every fantasy you’ve ever had about touring an old, classic wine-making facility will come true here. Walking down dark narrow hallways, sounds of your footsteps on cement walkways in those hallways, colors of cabernet, putty, beiges, golds, wood accents, the sounds of the master winemaker talking to you in another language, the smell of the oak barrels, a little taste from the barrel – if this is a dream do NOT wake me up – repeat – do NOT wake me up.
2003 Carmelo Patti Cabernet Sauvignon –
HE SAYS: This wine is just being released after about four years of aging. It has a big nose and medium body, with a bit of acid and tannin. He recommended drinking it by 2013. 14+
2004 Carmelo Patti Malbec –
HE SAYS: A big and fruity Malbec that was aged 40% in French oak and 60% in concrete. It has medium high tannin, so it needs some age to soften. But once again, Carmelo said to drink it by 2013. Very good. 15
SHE SAYS: Aging in concrete – you must see this. You must.
2002 Carmelo Patti Gran Assemblage – Carmelo makes this wine only in years where the quality of the grapes merit it. So he’s produced an ’02, ’03, ’04 and ’08 recently. Carmelo wrote that it was 47% Cab, 24% Malbec, 19% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc. Well, that comes out to just 98%, and frankly my Spanish was too basic to inquire about the missing 2%. Regardless, what’s in the bottle is terrific. The Gran Assemblage is a BIG and bold wine. Berry and cherry flavors predominate. Very complex with medium high tannins and a decent kick of acid still. It ages one year in oak and 4 years in the bottle, and he says once again to drink by 2013. 16