Catena Alta Malbec 2011
Malbec from Argentina, South America
Catena Alta Malbec is deep violet in color with indigo highlights. The nose has aromas of ripe red and black berry fruits with notes of violets and lavender and hints of leather, spice, mocha, and vanilla. The wine is full-bodied, concentrated and rich on the palate with soft, sweet tannins and a silky structure. Multiple layers of rich cassis, ripe cranberries, and blackberries are interwoven with subtle notes of licorice and black pepper. An earthy minerality, finely grained tannins, and a lively acidity mark the lengthy finish.
Wine & Spirits - "This vintage is particularly bright and youthful, the firm red fruit flavors seemingly lit from within. The tannins have a rather untamed grip; if you open the wine now, do it next to the grill. "
James Suckling - "This shows a silky and beautiful wine with plum, spice, salt and sliced meat. Full body, with wonderful fruit and spicy, meat and berry character. A little jammy but I like it a lot. Drink or hold."
Wine Spectator - "Fresh and engaging, with refined flavors of red plum, currant and spiced cherry, which are awash with sandalwood and hickory smoke notes. Shows good snap on the finish of milk chocolate and cream. Drink now through 2018."
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Bodega Catena Zapata is one of Argentina's high altitude Malbec pioneers. The Catena family began making wine in Mendoza in 1902. Nicolas Catena, third generation family vintner, was one of the first to see the potential of Mendoza's mountain vineyards for producing high quality Malbec. In 1994, he became the first Argentine to exprot a world-class bottling of Malbec under the Catena label. Nicolas is joined by his daughter, Dr. Laura Catena, in their relentless pursuit of world-class quality from the family's high altitude vineyards. Laura has done extensive work in introducing Malbec and other varietal plant selections, soil and climate analysis, and sustainable practices throughout Mendoza. Head winemaker, Alejandro Vigil, has been at Catena Zapata since 2002 and works with Laura and Nicolas to make wines that express the family's vineyards and palate. View all Catena Wines
About ArgentinaView a map of Argentina wineries (ahr-jen-TEE-nah)
Notable FactsUnlike its Chilean neighbor, Argentina's vineyards are spread out around the country. The best known region is Mendoza, almost parallel to Santiago to the west. Mendoza contains the sub-regions of Maipu (pronounced MY-pu) and San Rafael. Grape-wise, the most important white is Chardonnay, making wine similar to California's style on the variety. Another fun white grape to try is Torrontes. Almost only grown in Argentina, Torrontes makes wines that are crisp, aromatic and easy-drinking. Some of the best versions of this wine come from the northern region of Salta, with very high altitude vineyards. As for the reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is the main grape for many wines leaving the country, but Malbec, the grape Argentinians like to call their own, makes very distinctive wines that are structured, dense and velvety. Many more varieties happily grow in the country, but for export, and consistent quality, these are the primary grapes.
About South AmericaRelated Links:
Young, organically farmed Carmenère at Chile's De Martino estate vineyard
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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