Overview of the Wine
Great wines begin in the vineyard. Our vision is to make rich and unforgettable wines that are true to the special place they come from. The story of Catena is the story of Argentine wine.
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.
Over the years, Nicolás Catena Zapata discovered the influence altitude has on fruit quality. As one climbs the altitudes of the Andes the average temperature decreases and the amplitude between day and night temperatures increases.
This environment provides the ideal climate for grape maturation. Each of the Catena Zapata family vineyards is divided into parcels according to their soil composition. These parcels are farmed individually, with an eye on encouraging their most authentic fruit expression.
Grape / Blend
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Malbec
Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
Winemaker's Tasting Notes
With its inaugural 1997 vintage, Nicolás Catena Zapata became the first luxury cuvée from Argentina to be exported around the world. The wine recreates the “Original Bordeaux Blend” of the 18th and 19th Centuries, when Malbec dominated over Merlot and was in equal standing to Cabernet Sauvignon in the Médoc. Prephylloxeric Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon massale selections of ungrafted vines give rise to this wine, opening a window to the past from the mountain vineyards of Mendoza, Argentina.
Nicolás Catena Zapata has an intense dark violet color with blue-black tones. A complex wine with delicate aromas of black cherry and licorice, it is enlivened by minerals, violet, spice, and herbs. The palate is sharply delineated and impressively concentrated, with a serious backbone supporting its very fresh currant and mineral flavors.
96 Points - James Suckling
Aromas of blackberries, grilled meat, blackcurrants and wet earth. Full-bodied, tight and compact with dense dark berries and currants. Linear and long with a tight, focused palate. A blend of cabernet sauvignon and malbec.
96 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2018 Nicolás Catena Zapata was produced with 65% Cabernet Sauvignon from Gualtallary (Adrianna vineyard, with the Cabernet Sauvignon interplanted with some Cabernet Franc) and 35% Malbec from Altamira (Nicasia vineyard). They no longer use grapes from Agrelo, and this is also a lot higher in Malbec than in other recent vintages. So, it has a very different profile, a change that started in 2017, with more contained ripeness and more freshness, and the wine is intense, keeping some of the Cabernet character (tobacco, blackberries) and the floral notes from Malbec. It comes through as balanced and harmonious, with very fine tannins and a long finish and perfect ripeness. This aims to revive the style of Bordeaux before phylloxera, from massal selection of ungrafted vines...
95 Points - Vinous
Bright medium ruby. Vibrant aromas of blueberry, violet, licorice, spices and bitter chocolate; this really stands out among Catena's 2017 reds for its floral character. Juicy and tightly wound but not a bit hard, communicating a distinctly primary quality to its densely packed flavors of crushed black fruits, violet, bitter chocolate and minerals. Boasts terrific energy and penetrating grip for this special bottling, finishing dense and extremely long but not at all heavy, with serious but perfectly buffered tannins saturating the tongue and teeth. This really fills the olfactories! But lay this beauty down and forget about it for three or four years. My sample retained its verve for many days in the recorked bottle.
95 Points - Decanter
The dominant cassis and eucalyptus Cabernet Sauvignon character translates into a clear austerity at this point and I suggest giving this a few more years to fully soften and let the purity of the fruit show its full impact. Deep inky colour, powerful tannins and a straight-line uplift from start to finish that speaks of the excellent levels of freshness even with this density of tannins. From ungrafted wines producing a tiny volume in this vintage after spring frosts, meaning there are extremely limited quantities through the Place. Unquestionably one of the great wines of Argentina, overseen by the talented Laura Catena.
Product size: 750ml