Today Patagonia is solely thought of as a brand of funky-printed fleeces and bare essentials for the outdoorsy type. But Patagonia the region, the inspiration for the brand, is so much more. This territory of our earth is brimming with vineyards and dinosaur fossils that are monumentally more meaningful to the world than a modern day colossal clothing company. So come along with me and drink this eye-opening dinosaur juice.
Patagonia is a subregion of Argentina (which is practically 50% of the country’s mass). The country plunges past 40o latitude, making the land home to the southernmost wine-producing region in the world. It is a territory that is fairly barren and arid today. Rio Negro, La Palma and Nequen comprise the three main viniculture areas; engraved with rivers, etched with mountains, and stained with a cultural past.
Moving forward in history, Patagonia has became a hot-spot for paleontologists. These once tropical lands were the playgrounds of all kinds of dinosaur species. Hundreds of prehistoric remains have been discovered across this land, including fossils in vineyards and entire dinosaur skeletons under wineries.
As a sommelier, I never gave Patagonia and, let’s be honest, Argentina a fighting chance. I looked at this region as the kid that went to a rival (obviously lamer) high school. But amongst the rocky soils that carpet the glowing mountainous terrain are thriving vineyards.
Pinot Noir and Malbec, the celebrated grapes of the land, flourish across the vineyards at the end of the earth. This is all made possible by Spanish and Italian immigrants who were the first to teach viticulture in Patagonia. Today the cold, dry climate and the heroic winds (that are known to blow away storms, and more importantly hail), create a safe place for vines to grow. These atmospheric conditions intertwined with the fascinating composition of the soil make this area and its wines overwhelmingly alluring.
Patagonia is not yet well-recognized by the winos of the world. With the conversation of minerality and terrior on the rise, I could only fathom the obsession people will have with this Jurassic park-like land. I mean who wouldn’t lose their shit over the idea of sipping on a big ole’ glass of grapes that were grown in the soil next to as T-rex’s skeleton?