The grapes for Catena Alta Chardonnay come from a select block of Adrianna vineyard, Catena's premier Chardonnay vineyard. At 1,500m (5,000') elevation, the Adrianna vineyard experiences an even greater thermal amplitude than the Uxmal vineyard, with very cool nights during ripening. The Catena Alta block has historically provided the most balanced and uniform yields. These carefully chosen vines undergo a detailed thinning process aimed at leaving only select, isolated clusters.
Picked in the cool, early morning hours, the grapes for Catena Alta Chardonnay are whole cluster pressed. The juice is all barrel fermented, and the wine spends a total of 14 months in 100% new François Fréres French oak. The result is a wine full of fresh fruit, with the added nuances of malolactic and oak flavors.
The 2000 Catena Alta Chardonnay has an intense golden yellow color with green tones. The nose is full of citric and white stone fruit aromas laced with honey and toast. The wine is soft and round on the palate, with great harmony and equilibrium between the rich fruit and the light notes of vanilla and spice. Catena Alta Chardonnay will only be made in exceptional vintage years.
"The super-ripe, poached pear-scented 1999 Catena Alta Chardonnay Adriana Vineyard is a Marcassin look-alike. Medium to full-bodied and luscious, this wine has an oily texture, huge richness, and a gorgeous intensity to its tropical fruit and spice-flavored character. It is lush, powerful, and extremely well-balanced. Drink this superb wine over the next 4-5 years."
-The Wine Advocate