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Around the Southern Vineyards

   
 Estimated reading time: 2 min. Texts Karina Jozami   Photos Jorge González
Patagonian Wineries

A tour around the main wineries in Neuquén which show us the creative stamp they have set upon the new Argentinian wines.

Very close to the great valley that opens its gates to Argentinian Patagonia, a small district of Neuquén provides the best conditions for winemaking. San Patricio del Chañar lies to the Northwest of the capital and has turned into an important grape growing region in the last 5 years. Its rocky soil watered by meltdown, significant temperature extremes, enough wind and low humidity create here similar conditions to those present in the vineyards of Bordeaux (France), Boomville (California, USA) and Asti (Italy).
    
As a result, the Chañar III Etapa venue was laid out in San Patricio, where three distinguished Patagonian wineries have settled down to grow their noble grapes.
A tour around these wineries and their vineyards, which are open to visitors, enables them to get to know and enjoy the spirit of Patagonian wine.

    
Schroeder Winery

Located at 39º South latitude, 110 hectares belonging to the Schroeders spread under the clear blue sky shining above the Patagonian plateau.
Patagonian Wineries
Vineyards containing the Malbec, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc varieties grow in this thick rocky soil. They are jealously grown and cared to manage the best wine quality.
    
This Argentinian family of European origins and Patagonian heart built the winery at the foot of the plateau. With modern architecture and highly advanced technological equipment, Schroeder winery has a special design that enables the use of gravity in the winemaking process, thus preserving quality and contributing to a good environmental policy.

As a part of its particular creation, the remains of a herbivorous dinosaur measuring over 12 meters of length were found during the building works of the venue. The finding inspired the Schroeders, who gave a special identity to their wines by naming them Saurus.
Patagonian Wineries
The Saurus line, which stands out for its freshness, youth and frutal touches, comes in the Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties. Saurus vintages have been awarded several distinctions, such as the Decanter Awards 2005 bronze medal for the Saurus Pinot Noir 2004, which also deserved the silver medal granted by the Brussels World Contest in the same year.
    
With the selection of the best grapes, the 2004 vintage of the Saurus Patagonia Select line, made up by Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Malbec wines, won the gold medal granted by the Internacional Wine Challenge 2005, among other distinctions.

The interesting tour around the winery ends in a restaurant overlooking the vineyards, where visitors may enjoy gastronomical delicacies in the company of a good Saurus wine, of course.

    
NQN

In a harmonical combination with the scenery of the Chañar fruit colony, stands this young and innovative winery run by Luis María Focaccia and Lucas Nemesio.
Patagonian Wineries
The venue includes 162 hectares sown with fine varieties and a building with an excellent infrastructure and cutting-edge technology. The casks laid out in three slopes enable the wind to pass above the building, thus protecting the vintage and permitting thermal insulation for this sector.

The vines are divided into 92% of red varieties: Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir; and 8% of white varieties: Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
    
With the philosophy of creating worldwide known Patagonian wines, NQN develops five lines: NQN Collection, Malma Reserve, Malma and Picada 15. The Malma trademark, whose name is the Mapuche word for “pride”, expresses the essence of this winery. And to give evidence of this name, NQN flaunts several awarded wines such as Malma Malbec Reserve 2004, recently distinguished in the Mediterranean International Wine Challenge, Terravino 2006.
Patagonian Wineries
Ever since its inauguration, NQN winery has welcomed visitors in general and provided guided tours around the facilities to show the entire winemaking process. Likewise, special outings around the vineyards are organised during the grape harvest season for visitors to take part in this activity.
After visiting all the areas in this magnificent winery, the Malma Resto Bar awaits on the first floor. This place synthesizes the image of NQN with style and, in addition to its wines, it serves dishes with Patagonian flavors hand in hand with chef Matías Nuñez.

    
Bodega del Fin del Mundo (End of the World Winery)

This is a pioneer winery in Neuquén, the one that started with vine plantations in the valley back in 1999. In 2002, it produced its number one vintage, an experimental production that was never launched. Today, with 850 hectares, its vineyards are made up by 85% of red varieties, including: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Sirah; and 15% of white varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillón and Viognier, among others.
Patagonian Wineries
The modern venue, which includes 4 units, was the first one to incorporate the latest technology used in winemaking. In addition to the channel system and a precise drip irrigation system, it has 202 fermentation tanks and 1,820 casks made of French and American oak wood, which enable the production of over 4 millon liters per year and this volume is estimated to be doubled when the construction works of the 4th unit are finished.
    
With a strict quality control, this winery produces 5 wine lines: Ventus, Postales, Newen, Reserva del Fin del Mundo and Special Blend, many of them awarded both locally and abroad. The Special Blend 2003 was granted a silver medal and the Malbec Reserva Fin del Mundo 2003 received the gold medal at the Brussels World Contest in 2005 and the Internacional Wine Challenge 2005.
    
The impulse that led this winery to be the first one in Patagonia is marked in its strong export profile and in the experimental vineyards that cultivate a promising future.
    
Undoubtedly, Bodega del Fin del mundo enables visitors to get to know the entrepeneur spirit reflected in its wines.
Useful Data
How to get here
San Patricio del Chañar is accessed through Provincial Route 7, 53 km from Neuquén heading for the district of Añelo.
 
Timetables
ask at the wineries about daily guided tours timetables.
 
Recommendations
it is advisable to wear comfortable footwear to tour around the venues.
 
Contact
Bodega del Fin del Mundo
San P. del Chañar - R. Prov. 8 - Km. 9 (8300) Neuquén - Neuquén - Argentina
Tel: +54 299 485-5004  
e-mail
Bodega NQN
Ruta Provincial 7 - Calle 15 - San Patricio del Chañar (8300) Neuquén - Neuquén - Argentina
Tel: +54 299 489-7500  
e-mail
Familia Schroeder
San P. del Chañar - Calle 7 Norte (8300) Neuquén - Neuquén - Argentina
Tel: +54 299 508-6767 / 588 0359  
e-mail
 
 
Inter Patagonia

Characteristics
Level of Difficulty
low.
Tour Kind
wineries
Other Characteristics
have lunch or dinner at the wineries restaurants.
Useful Data Useful Data



Location



The Detail

The region where the Patagonian wines are born has singular features: it is a windy semi-desert area that enables vines to be always dry and free of pesticides, with an almost organic treatment. Besides, the temperature extremes to which the grapes are exposed grant them a very intense color. Therefore, the Chañar area has come to be known as “the region of colors”.


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