I really wanted to like this wine…Padrillos, pinot noir from Mendoza

The pinot noir was not a hit. What a shame. My Argentine friends asked me what ever possessed me to buy a pinot noir from Mendoza when I could have bought a perfectly good malbec or syrah from Mendoza. I guess curiosity got the better of me. I´ve had pinots from Patagonia but never from Mendoza so when I spotted it on the shelf I just had to buy it. That and combined with the fact that it had the name Catena on it, I thought it would be good bet. But sadly, it wasn’t.

Padrillos is the handiwork of the son of Nicolas Catena Zapata, Ernesto. Going into the wine making business for himself, Ernesto sources the grapes from other growers and makes the wine. Visiting the website, there is a whole story about the Incas and lost treasures etc but it all seemed a bit too much. The back label of the pinot noir also seems to ramble on with a story about a stallion climbing the Andes mountains and some how relating it to the freshness of the wine. This is my rough translation but my friends said it didn’t make much sense in Spanish either.

Honestly, if you have to make up such a story, is it a distraction from the wine? In this case, I think yes. I haven’t tried the other wines he makes but I’m not really tempted to based on the pinot. A simple wine with not many defining characteristics other then “tastes like fruit juice” as my friends commented. I thought it had lots of cherry on the palate but I think they were right, it was like drinking cherry cola minus the fizz. Light to medium bodied, it reminded me of Beaujolais but not as good. What a disappointment, I was so looking forward to loving this wine, especially after paying 40 pesos for it. Bear in mind, you can get a perfectly acceptable bottle in the supermarket for 12 pesos and a really good one for 30 pesos.

Oh well, you can’t win them all. But I’m not giving up just yet. I spied another pinot noir from Alamos Vineyards in a shop yesterday, I might try it when I’m in Mendoza next week….


  1. I understand… if I saw a Mendoza Pinot Noir I would buy it as well… too bad it wasn’t what you hoped for – but hey – in another 10 years when everyone is starting to come around and say “Aren’t they doing good things in Mendoza with Pinot now?” you can respond “buddy – I remember when I couldn’t cook with Mendoza Pinot”…. LOL!

    I tried India Rum for just that same reason, with much the same result .

    • I hope we won´t have to wait 10 years! Going to Mendoza on Monday and will quiz the winemakers on their pinot. Hopefully, my next post will be on a quality pinot from Mendoza…

      India rum? hmmm, you´d think they´d be able to make rum, what with the heat there…esp. someplace like Goa or elsewhere along the coast settled by the Portuguese

  2. I’ve had 2 or 3 Shiraz from Argentina and they’ve all been hideous. Can’t remember what region they were from, but is Mendoza the place for it?

    Just remembered I had an Argentine Pinot Noir in an Argentine steak house once, and it was terrible.

    • I´ve had a couple of pinots from Patagonia which were good but Mendoza so far has not impressed me with their pinots. I´m going to Mendoza to try their malbecs and hopefully, I´ll get to try some shiraz as well. I´ll let you know how it goes…


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