Nicolas Catena Zapata has been at the forefront of the vanguard of Argentinean Mallbec, his pioneering vision has elevated the region’s wines worldwide. He has won numerous awards and today is compared to Angelo Gaja and Robert Mondavi.
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. Nicolas 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 Chardonay – he then devoted himself to perfecting high altitude vine growing.
The progeny of this innovation was the creation of a breakthrough wine, eponymously named Nicolas Catena Zapata, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and in some vintages Petit Verdot. 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 included in one of the world’s leading wines. The wine spends 26 months in new French oak and it is said has the potential to age and improve for 50 years.
In 2001 Nicolas introduced his now flagship wine Nicolas Catena Zapata to a series of blind tasting in London and in the US. He pitted his wine against First Growths and the world’s other leading wines from around the world and Nicolas Catena Zapata came first or second in every tasting. In 2004, following on from this truly remarkable achievement, Nicolas Cantena Zapata became the first Argentinian wine to receive 98 points from Robert Parker.
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