Catena Alta Chardonnay 2008
Chardonnay from Argentina, South America
The 2008 Catena Alta Chardonnay has a bright greenishyellow color. The nose shows an excellent mixture of citrus fruit interwoven with honeyed tropical fruit notes and floral tones. The mouthfeel is rich and concentrated showing ripe pear, apple and apricot flavors with a light note of sweet nutmeg spice. The finish shows clean, bright acidity and wonderful length.
International Wine Cellar - "Very pale color. Captivating aromas of lemon cream, nectarine, papaya, cinnamon, mace and smoky oak. Dense and lush on entry, then sweet but shapely in the middle, with vibrant flavors of pineapple, peach and spices. Surprisingly sappy acidity gives this wine terrific verve and grip. Spreads out to saturate the palate without leaving any impression of weight. I would call this Burgundian, but it's really chardonnay in its own distinctive style-and one of the best examples of the variety I've yet tasted from Argentina."
The Wine Advocate - "There is one white wine among the higher-end new releases, the 2008 Alta Chardonnay. Light gold in color with an outstanding aromatic array of buttered popcorn, honeysuckle, mineral, and tropical fruits, on the palate it is medium-bodied, concentrated, impeccably balanced, and lengthy. This savory offering can be enjoyed over the next 5-6 years. I recently tasted the 2002 and it still drinks well but further aging is a gamble. The Alta Chardonnay's relatively modest price should put a scare into California and French Chardonnay producers who routinely charge double (or more) for similar quality."
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 & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.
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