Catena strikes gold
Catena Zapata’s Nicasia Vineyard Malbec 2011 received a gold medal and no fewer than three trophies at this year’s International Wine Challenge. The wine was awarded Best Argentinean Red, Best Argentinean Malbec and Best Mendoza Malbec. It also won a gold medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards.
Owned by Nicolas Catena and his daughter Laura, Bodega Catena Zapata is well-known as a pioneer of Argentinean fine wine. When Nicolas started to plant Malbec at increasingly high altitudes in the 1980s, people were sceptical. But the results of his experiments spoke for themselves, firmly placing Mendoza on the map as one of the world’s top wine-growing regions.
Since then the family has continued to push boundaries, with Laura taking over the Bodega’s Research and Development programme in 2001. A qualified practitioner in emergency medicine, with degrees from Harvard and Stanford, Laura brings a strong science background to this area. She immediately started working with the high-altitude Malbec that her father had planted, and was sure that vines planted in these extreme microclimates, would yield something truly special.
Laura’s determination to produce a world-class Malbec led her and the viticultural team to conduct a plant-by-plant selection of the high-altitude Malbec vines, with the very best being managed and harvested separately to isolate their incredible potential.
In 2004 the programme produced such extraordinary fruit that the winemaking team decided to ferment directly in new oak barrels. The result was three spectacular new Malbecs, including Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard Malbec, a selection of the best plants from Lot-1 of the Nicasia Vineyard, located at 3,593 feet in the southerly-lying Altamira area of La Consulta in San Carlos.
What the critics say
“What sets Nicolas Catena Zapata apart from other top producers in the world is his unflagging dedication to researching, studying, and learning every aspect of viticulture and winemaking that could potentially improve his wines”. Jancis Robinson
“Nicolas Catena was the true pioneer and is still the most important wine personality in Argentina. They are so forward thinking and smart as they are still at the head of quality wines in the country, doing amazing research and never resting on their laurels”. Luis Gutierrez