Catena Zapata Chardonnay 2022, Mendoza
A zesty, lively and mineral Chardonnay to the craft of Argentina’s great Catena Zapata
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Founded in 1902, Argentina’s Bodega Catena Zapata is known for its pioneering role in resurrecting Malbec and in discovering extreme high-altitude terroirs in the Andean foothills of Mendoza. 3rd generation Nicolas led the way in showcasing the world class of Argentinean wines globally, leading the way in viticulture and winemaking, carrying the tradition with pride, challenging themselves continuously to craft wines that can be counted among the best in the world.
Catena ‘Classic’ – is an expression from 100% estate-grown cultivars from the family’s high-altitude vineyards, with high attention to details to preserve the unique expression, aromas and flavors of the fruit, adding a heightened complexity to the final wine.
The Catenas led the way in extensively mapping their estate vineyards for decades, in order to discover the differences in soil structure, clonal selection, row orientation, slope or plantation density. This resulted in a mix of wine character and concentration with a one-of-a-kind personality, giving birth to Catena Alta in the 1990s, which spearheaded the first top-quality releases of its kind from Argentina.
Nicolás still yearned to make wines that could stand with the world’s greats. To do this, he knew he needed to grow fruit of unprecedented quality, with a level of concentration, complexity and balance never before seen in Argentina. Once each specific lot was identified and its potential revealed through row-by-row micro-vinification, Nicolás developed a plant-by-plant selection through which he could further enhance the characteristics of each lot. Today the Zapata vines are specifically marked and meticulously cared for as the mother plants to the Zapata Four: Nicolás Catena Zapata, Malbec Argentino, Adrianna Malbec and Nicasia Malbec.
Their hard work and dedication behind crafting such fine wines, Terroir refinement hasn’t been unnoticed, with the winery voted as #1 World Best Vineyard and firmly established as 2nd most admired wine brand in the world in 2023. They also started a dynasty, today pursued by Nicolas’ daughter Laura who has taken the helm, recognized as wine personality of the year 2022 with her work on Terroir and sustainability.
HIGH MOUNTAIN ESTATE VINEYARDS
The Catena wines are a special assemblage of High Mountain Estate Vineyards made by fourth generation vintner, Laura Catena and chief winemaker, Alejandro Vigil. Although we have found that most of the Catena wines are consumed shortly after release, we are pleased to see that they age beautifully for ten to twenty years. Through decades of study and exploration within Mendoza’s high altitude mountain terroirs, the Catena family has identified special locations for its Estate vineyards. From the marriage of these historic vineyards emerges a wine of unique character that has natural balance, concentration and a distinct varietal identity.
A Blend of Four Vineyards – vineyards are divided into lots that are harvested at different times:
- Agrelo: 3,117 ft (950 m) elevation. Citrus and peach fruit flavors.
- Villa Bastías: 3,675 ft (1,120 m) elevation. Stone fruit aromas and a rich texture.
- Gualtallary: 4,757 ft (1,450 m) elevation. Lively floral notes, strong mineral character and cool climate bright acidity.
- El Cepillo: 3,576 ft (1,090 m) elevation. Alluvial origin. Loam-sandy soil with thick calcareous layers and rounded rocks on the bottom.
Whole cluster pressed; fermented, sur lies, in barrels and stainless steel. Wild yeasts. Elevage: 6 to 8 months in French oak. Barrel selection varies depending on vineyard and vintage – First, second and third use barrels. 40% does not undergo malolactic fermentation.
- Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
- Alcohol: 13.6%
- Total Acidity: 5.85 grams/liter
- pH: 3.3
The Catena Chardonnay combines the unique expressions of three high altitude vineyard sites. The wine shows an intense greenish color with yellow notes. The extraordinary combination of these vineyards offer honey and tropical fruit flavors while lending notes of citrus, pears, peaches, and white flowers with a strong minerality and a delicated note of vanilla. The mouthfeel is clean, with a fresh, clean acidity.
James Suckling – 93 points
A pretty mineral nose with a creamy layer to the roasted pineapples, lemon and marzipan. Fresh and really textured on the palate with a medium to full body. It has a lightly phenolic, viscous texture and a bright acidity. Very good value.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate – 91 points
The 2022 Catena Chardonnay is a medicinal and balsamic expression of the varietal, with aromas of bay leaf and white flowers. The palate is dry and medium-bodied with mellow acidity and moderate ripeness and alcohol.