Nicolás Catena Zapata is made from a selection of the best lots of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec in the Catena Zapata Vineyards. The first Nicolás Catena Zapata was made in 1997, a phenomenal Cabernet Sauvignon vintage in Mendoza. The 1997 Nicolás Catena Zapata was released in 2000 through a series of blind tastings held in the USA and Europe where it was compared blind to Chateau Latour, Haut Brion, Solaia, Caymus and Opus One. The Nicolás Catena Zapata 1997 came in either first or second in every tasting. This wine is only produced in outstanding vintage years.
72% Cabernet Sauvignon; 28% Malbec
The core Cabernet Sauvignon fruit component was sourced from Lot 3 of La Pirámide vineyard. With exceptional homogeneity and balance, these Cabernet Sauvignon grapes offer rich cassis flavors, supple texture and excellent structure. Two additional components of Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from Lot 2 of the Domingo Vineyard and Lot 5 of the Adrianna Vineyard. These high altitude, cool climate vineyards provide fruit with ripe red currant flavors, strong mineral tones and notes of eucalyptus and black pepper.
The core Malbec fruit component was sourced from Lot 3 of the Adrianna Vineyard, the highest Malbec vineyard in Mendoza. This extremely cold, mountain microclimate produces exceptionally concentrated Malbec grapes with dark fruit flavors, perfumed violet aromas and well structured tannins. A second component is sourced from Lot 1 of the southerly located Altamira vineyard. Another cool area for Malbec, the fruit from this vineyard presents ripe cassis flavors and well balanced, racy acidity.
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
Now fifth in the world for wine production, Argentina is catching up in the quality wine sector. A long time wine producer, Argentina used to make wine in order to drink it, not export it. And so the wines produced were quaffable and rustic and made for the local's everyday dinner. Yet it's hard not to get caught up in the wine market of the world and some winemakers decided it was time for Argentina to show their stuff. Better winemaking technology was brought in, new winemaking techniques were learned and good viticulture practices flourished. The result? World-class wines with unique style and variety.
Unlike 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.
Young, organically farmed Carmenère at Chile's De Martino estate vineyard
Chile & Argentina are the regions producing the most wine coming out of the continent. The wines from this area are good value with a distinctive taste. They create new world wines with old world character.
Most 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.