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January 28, 2016

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2011

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Nicolas Catena Zapata has been at the forefront of the vanguard of Argentinean Mallbec, his pioneering vision has elevated the region’s wines worldwide. His most famous flagship wine is the eponymously name Catena Nicolas Zapata, which made his name. In 2001 Nicolas introduced Nicolas Catena Zapata to a series of blind tastings in London and in the US. He pitted his wine against First Growths and many of the world’s other leading wines and Nicolas Catena Zapata came first or second in every tasting. In 2004, following on from this truly remarkable achievement, Nicolas Catena Zapata became the first Argentinian wine to receive 98 points from Robert Parker: Catena Zapata is considered the ne plus ultra of Argentinian Malbec.

Today we are delighted to offer the most recent release, the stunning 2011, which has been awarded 95 points from Parker’s Wine Advocate.  In 2011 only 916 cases were made, far fewer making their way to Europe; the small production reflects the draconian methods employed. The wine synthesises Cabernet Sauvignon with Malbec, with a higher preponderance of Cabernet Sauvignon which reflects Nicolas’ love of the grape. The vineyards are found at extraordinary altitude, at an elevation of nearly 5,000 feet, possibly the highest of any Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine spends 26 months in new French oak and it has the potential to age and improve for 50 years.

Rarer still is their Mundus Bacillus Terrae Malbec 2011, a wine that has been awarded 98 points, one of the highest in the history of Argentinian wine. The grapes come exclusively from the Adrianna vineyard in Gualtallary, at an altitude of 1,500 metres. Of this wine, Luis Gutierrez states ‘If all the vintages of Adrianna are to dream about, this could be the most balanced, harmonious, elegant and mineral of them all.’ This is a spectacular effort, one of the finest ever, from the great man of Malbec. Production is smaller than Romanee Conti, only 333 cases were produced in 2011 and therefore the wine is exceptionally rare. Gutierrez makes his feelings quite clear describing it as ‘Otherworldly. Words do not do justice to this beauty. It goes far beyond the variety, I didn’t think about Malbec, I thought about the place and forgot about the grapes. The flavors linger in your mouth forever. I’d love to encounter this wine again in ten years time.’
 

Nicolas Catena Zapata
Nicola Catena and his family immigrated to Argentina at the end of the 19th Century and become rich landowners; Nicola planted his first Malbec vineyard in 1902. Nicola Catena Zapata, Nicola’s grandson, holds a doctorate degree in economics, and in the early eighties left his homeland to become a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he became inspired by Californian wines. On his return he introduced European viticultural techniques to Argentina, including French oak barrels, drip irrigation and low yielding cutting of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay – he then devoted himself to perfecting high altitude vine growing.

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino – 95 pts Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate.
I was truly impressed with the nose of the 2011 Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino, a blend of grapes from Adrianna (Gualtallary) and Nicasia (Altamira) vineyards in the Uco Valley. Even if the grapes are sourced from the same vineyards as the Adrianna and Nicosia bottling, this wine is quite different. Here the plots are selected from the granitic parts that give it a different, austere texture. There is a seamless granularity with the tannins that go in a straight line, and keep going and going. Super! 11,000 bottles were filled.

Catena Zapata Adrianna Bacillus Terrae – 98 pts Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate.
The 2011 Malbec Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard is Malbec from the eponymous vineyard in Gualtallary close to 1,500 meters altitude fermented together with some Viognier exclusively from the plots where the soil is rich in calcium carbonate. The vineyard is planted at high density, 12,000 plants per hectare. If all the vintages of Adrianna are to dream about, this could be the most balanced, harmonious, elegant and mineral of them all. The sense of place here is tremendous, it transfers you to the Gualtallary vineyards at the foot of the Andes with its stony, chalky soils. There is a sense of harmony and subtlety like you rarely see. The wine dances on the tongue and seems light on its feet, yet has a hidden power and concentration that is noticeable on the finish. The flavors stay forever on the finish and the lips are salty. Otherworldy. Words do not do justice to this beauty. It goes far beyond the variety, I didn’t think about Malbec, I thought about the place and forgot about the grapes. The flavors linger in your mouth forever. I’d love to encounter this wine again in ten years time. 4,000 bottles produced.

To buy this wine click here.