Catena Zapata Malbec 2021, Mendoza
A highly drinkable introduction to the craft of Argentina’s great Catena Zapata
|Critics Top Rating
NEW, Top Rated, Bestsellers, Organic & Biodynamic, Women in Wine
Everyday, Casual Entertainment
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.
This wine goes through an extensive cold maceration for 5 days at 48ºF (8,8ºC) to extract aromas. The juice is then fermented for 10-16 days with a post-fermentation maceration of 19-22 days. Wild Yeasts. Elevage: 6-8 months in barrel. Barrel selection varies depending on vineyard and vintage – First, second and third use barrels used.
- Varietal: 100% Malbec
- Alcohol: 13.6%
- Total Acidity: 5.8 grams/liter
- pH: 3.6
A Blend of Three Vineyards – vineyards are divided into lots that are harvested at different times:
- Lunlunta 3,018 ft (920m) elevation: aluvial origin. Loamy clay in the topsoil with rounded rocks on the bottom.
- El Cepillo, Eugenio Bustos 3,593 ft (1,090 m) elevation: aluvial origin. Loam-sandy soil with thick calcareous layers and rounded rocks on the bottom.
- Gualtallary 4,757 ft (1,450 m) elevation: aluvial origin. Gravel and limestone soil. Rounded rocks in the bottom.
Catena Malbec presents a deep violet color with purple reflections. This microclimate blend of four unique vineyards offers intense aromas, soft texture, and concentrated flavor. Deep aromas of ripe red and dark fruits are joined by delicate violet and lavender notes, with traces of vanilla and mocha. A rich, concentrated mouthfeel is highlighted by flavors of blueberries and blackberries with a touch of leather and cinnamon. The wine has well-integrated tannins, bright acidity, and a flinty minerality that provides exceptional length to the finish.
Vinous – 92 points
Robert Parker Wine Advocate – 91 points
The juicy and young 2021 Catena Malbec has a nice combination of spice, berry and herbs to make it balanced, expressive and attractive. It’s round, velvety and nicely crafted in an easy to understand and highly drinkable style and a commercial profile. A champion in drinkability.
James Suckling – 92 points
A very well-made malbec with a mixture of red and black cherries, roasted spices and graphite. This is quite juicy and tight on the palate with good intensity and a fresh and flavorful finish. Drink now.