One of the iconic houses out of Argentina, Bodega Catena Zapata can be traced back more than a century to Nicola Catena, an Italian immigrant, who planted his first vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina in 1902. Owned today by Nicolás Catena and his daughter Dr. Laura, Bodega Catena Zapata produces some of the finest wines out of Argentina. A trained economist, Nicolás began working hard to improve wine quality at his estate in the 1980s as these wines became highly acclaimed by wine critics near and far.
One of the major reasons for the increase in quality was Nicolas’s bold decision to plant both Chardonnay and Malbec at a 5,000 feet elevation. This was an unusual vineyard practice at the time but the risk paid off. Soon Nicolas was crafting incredible wines from these vines. In 2001 Nicolas' daughter Dr. Laura Catena took over the Research & Development program at Bodega Catena Zapata. An Emergency Room physician, with degrees from Harvard and Stanford, Dr. Laura Catena brought a very strong science background to the family winery's R&D project. She immediately set about working with the high altitude Malbec that her father had planted and has achieved incredible success at the winery since taking over.
The new releases from Catena and their talented winemaker, Alejandro Vigil, were gorgeous across the board. One of the great Chardonnays that I have tasted from Argentina, the 2016 Bodega Catena Zapata ‘White Stones Adrianna Vineyard’ Chardonnay (WWB, 94) has incredible texture and freshness with a Chablis-like character. I was totally blown away with the 2014 Bodega Catena Zapata ’Nicolas Catena’ Red Wine (WWB, 95) which shows a seriously good combination of elegance and weight. This massive wine will cellar well for two decades. Learn more about these beautiful wines at http://www.catenawines.com Here are the gorgeous new releases from Catena
2016 Bodega Catena Zapata ‘White Stones Adrianna Vineyard’ Chardonnay- The ‘White Stones’ Chardonnay by Bodega Catena Zapata is a stunning new wine that was sourced from select 27 rows within Block 1 of the Adrianna Vineyard. The wine was aged for 12 months in French oak puncheons prior to bottling. On the nose this shows gorgeous salinity with wet stone and bright Meyer lemon zest aromas that build in the glass. The palate shows incredible freshness and intensity with lemon rind, vanilla creme brûlée and gorgeous stony character. A complete wine, this impressive effort would pass for a top Chablis. Enjoyable now, this will continue to cellar well over the next decade as this is a stunning new wine by the talented Alejandro Vigil. Drink 2019-2029- 94
2016 Bodega Catena Zapata Cabernet Sauvignon- The Catena Cabernet Sauvignon begins with aromas of mocha, anise, sandalwood and suggestions of baking spices that all impress. The palate shows good richness and intensity with excellent poise. Good terroir and dark fruits fill the palate, with a chocolate edge. Delicious now, this will cellar well for the next eight to ten years. Drink 2019-2026- 90
2016 Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec- The 2016 Catena Malbec shows really beautiful typicity at this time. Smoky undertones with white pepper and dark chocolate aromas all connect in the glass. The palate shows good richness with blueberry compote, mocha, anise and creme de cassis flavors. Delicious now, this will cellar well for the next decade. Drink 2019-2028- 91
2016 Bodega Catena Zapata ‘Alta’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2016 ‘Alta’ Cabernet Sauvignon by Catena starts off with dark fruits on the nose with chocolate fudge and a whiff of smoke. The soft texture really entices, as does the blackberry jam, coffee ground and anise flavors with a touch of fennel. A delight to enjoy right now, this will continue to cellar well for a decade or more. Drink 2019-2031- 92
2016 Bodega Catena Zapata ‘Alta’ Malbec- Sourced from the Angélica, La Pirámide, Nicasia and Adrianna vineyards, the 2016 ‘Alta’ Malbec by Catena is a stunning new wine that beautifully showcases this special terroir. On the nose the wine slowly unveils espresso bean, anise, dark chocolate shavings and shades of blueberry pie that all fill the glass. The texture to this wine is exceedingly good, delivering a nice sense of decadence. Mocha, blueberry compote, cassis and sandalwood flavors all marvelously amalgamate. Rich and layered, this is drinking well in its youth but will continue to develop over the next ten to fifteen years. Drink 2019-2032- 93
2015 Bodega Catena Zapata ‘D.V. Catena Tinto Historico’ Red Wine- The ‘D.V. Catena Tinto Historico’ is a gorgeous blend of largely Malbec (72%) with smaller portions Bonarda (21%) and Petit Verdot (7%). Showing off its inky core, the wine awakens to green peppercorn, milk chocolate and blueberry compote aromas that impress. The palate has a good degree of freshness and richness. Milk chocolate malt balls, blueberry pie, anise and green bell pepper flavors all impress. Enjoyable now, this will continue to evolve over the next ten to fifteen years. Drink 2019-2032- 92
2014 Bodega Catena Zapata ‘Nicolas Catena Zapata’ Red Wine- The 2014 ‘Nicolas Catena Zapata’ is a gorgeous blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon with the remainder Malbec, as this wine was first made with the 1997 vintage. Sourced from the La Pirámide Vineyard (3,117 ft) as well as the Nicasia Vineyard (3,593 feet) and the Adrianna Vineyard (4,747 feet) the wine starts off with a gorgeous bouquet of dark currant, blackberry pie, mocha and spicecake that all marvelously combine in the glass. The dazzling minerality and texture to the wine really creates a seductive edge to this beautiful wine. Blueberry pie, black tea, Asian spices and dark chocolate shaving flavors all come together as the long, mineral and dark fruit driven finish delivers a lasting effect. Delicious now, be sure to give this a two hour decant if enjoying in its youth. Drink 2020-2040- 95
2014 Bodega Catena Zapata ‘Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae’ Malbec- Fortuna Terrae is translated as ‘luck of the land’ in Latin, and those who sample this wine can also consider themselves lucky. This gorgeous effort shows an intense bouquet of nutmeg, milk chocolate and blubbery pie with hints of dark currants. The sense of refinement and silky texture to this wine is truly outstanding. Dark and blue fruits line this wine with a milk chocolate edge. The finish is exceedingly long and gratifying. This is truly Argentinian Malbec at its best by superstar winemaker Alejandro Vigil. Try to resist this stunning wine for another year at least. Drink 2020-2040- 96
2015 Bodega Catena Zapata ‘Argentino’ Malbec- The ‘Argentino’ Malbec is a stunning wine by the talented Alejandro Vigil that was sourced from the Catena Zapata Family Vineyards, Nicasia and Angélica Vineyards. This inky colored Malbec was aged in French oak for 18 months prior to bottling. The wine opens with an intense bouquet of Asian spice, mocha, blueberry pie and suggestions of graphite. The texture and mouthfeel to this wine is sumptuous. Black tea, blackberry cobbler, crushed mint and mocha with ripe blueberry flavors all marvelously come together. Seductive and showing good poise, this excellent wine will continue to cellar well for twenty years. Drink 2019-2040- 95