When you’re visiting multiple wineries in a weekend, it’s always nice to switch it up. That’s why we thought Carmelo Patti would make a nice counterpoint to the slicker Vistalba and Ruca Malen, especially after seeing it on the Vines of Mendoza must-see list.
Carmelo himself is just a guy from Italy who wants to make his wines. He doesn’t care about marketing or sales, although he’s happy to share his passion with visitors. This was the selling point of the vineyard, as I thought we’d get into some in-depth discussions of artisan wine-making and be able to shoot the breeze. That was the impression I had from others’ stories online.
I don’t know if it was the hot weather or the size of the group, but Carmelo didn’t seem particularly enthused when we visited. That’s not to say he wasn’t friendly or hospitable, and he gladly answered all questions. Frankly, we may have been the low-energy ones bringing him down. But for whatever reason it wasn’t quite what I’d envisioned.
The wines were good, although they were way too complex and big for my taste. Unlike the dialogue, these were exactly what I expected: big, spicy reds with a lot of Italian influence that are meant to be stored for years and savored. We tried a Malbec, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a red blend, all of which could compete with the Old World wines Carmelo’s relatives back in Italy are surely making.
If you’ve only got a couple days in Mendoza, I wouldn’t say that you have to pay Carmelo Patti a visit. In a region with so many options, I think there are ways to keep it interesting without going to such a small-scale operation. But if you’re sick of the organized tours or your tastes tend more toward the complex, it may be worth a stop.
Just keep an eye out for the ice cream shop. Carmelo Patti is across the street, behind a plain white wall with no sign at all to bring in the tourists. If you happen to find him, Carmelo’s happy to pour you a glass or two. And sometimes a welcoming glass of wine is enough.