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Catena Alta Malbec 2012

Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
  • JS94
  • RP94
  • WE92
14% ABV
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3.9 11 Ratings
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3.9 11 Ratings
14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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 and a touch of spices. The wine is full-bodied and rich, with sweet tannins and a smooth structure, offering multiple layers of blackberries and black currant with hints of licorice, vanilla, and black pepper. This wine's lengthy finish shows beautiful minerality with fine tannins and lively acidity.

This Malbec would be absolutely wonderful with a variety of grilled meats but especially with more full-flavored dishes like barbecued leg of lamb or roasted baby goat.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
JS 94
James Suckling
Old vine aromas of dark fruit, earth, tanned leather and Chinese tea. Full body, round and velvety tannins and an intense finish. This is made from selected old vines.
RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
I was truly impressed by the 2012 Catena Alta Malbec, a blend of wines produced with Malbec grapes from different zones within Mendoza. The nose shows incredible freshness (early harvest?) and a mixture of violets, blueberries and bright red cherries and is also subtly spiced. The seamless palate shows very refined tannins, a velvety texture and great acidity. It has a really tasty and lengthy finish. A triumph over the vintage. Bravo! 60,000 bottles produced.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
Immediately appealing, this trendsetting Malbec proudly cranks out blackberry and spice aromas that are on the spot. Full and tannic on the palate, but not too fierce, this tastes of bold, earthy plum and black raspberry with savory notes kicking in. A long, tightly wound finish with well-integrated oak means this will last. Drink through 2022.
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Catena

Catena

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Catena, Mendoza, Argentina
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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 export 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.

By far the largest and best-known winemaking province in Argentina, Mendoza is responsible for over 70% of the country’s enological output. Set in the eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains, the climate is dry and continental, presenting relatively few challenges for viticulturists during the growing season. Mendoza is divided into several distinctive sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley—two sources of some of the country’s finest wines.

For many wine lovers, Mendoza is practically synonymous with Malbec, originally a Bordelaise variety brought to Argentina by the French in the mid-1800s. Here it found success and renown it never could have achieved in its homeland due to its struggle to ripen fully in finicky climates. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Pinot Noir are all widely planted here as well (and often blended with one another. The best white wines are made from Chardonnay, and there are excellent examples to be found as well from Torrontés, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sémillon.

Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec is most famous for its runaway success in Argentina. However, the variety actually originates in Bordeaux, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends but was susceptible to viticultural problems. After being nearly wiped out by a devastating frost in 1956, it was never significantly replanted, although it did flourish under the name Côt in nearby Cahors. Malbec was brought to Argentina in 1868 by a French agronomist who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, but did not gain its current reputation as the national grape of Argentina until a surge in popularity in the late 20th century thanks to its easy-going drinkability.

In the Glass

Malbec typically expresses deep flavors of freshly turned earth, black fruits from berries to plums, and licorice, appropriately backed by dense, chewy tannins. In warmer, New World regions, such as Mendoza, it can be quite intense and often needs time to mellow before becoming drinkable. In the Old World, its rusticity shines, with aged examples showing dusty notes of leather and tobacco. The best examples in all regions often possess a beguiling bouquet of violets.

Perfect Parings

Malbec’s rustic character begs for flavorful dishes, like spicy grilled sausages or the classic cassoulet of France’s Southwest. South American iterations are best enjoyed as they would be in Argentina: with a thick, juicy steak.

Sommelier Secret

If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet. With its combination of bold flavors and soft tannins, it will appeal to basically anyone who enjoys red wine. Malbec also wins bonus points for affordability, as even the most inexpensive examples are often quite good.

RPT98479395_2012 Item# 146121