Catena Appellation Lunlunta Malbec 2018
The Lunlunta shows a deep violet color with purple reflections. The nose offers concentrated aromas of ripe red and dark fruits with traces of vanilla and mocha. The mouthfeel is rich and concentrated, with blueberries and blackberries notes and a touch of leather and cinnamon. The finish presents well-integrated supple tannins with a flinty minerality that gives the wine exceptional length.
The Catena Lunlunta perfectly pairs with smoked meats and cheeses and equally well with braises, roasts or grilled meats and fowl. Perfect for a light dinner or a substantial meal, it is an extremely versatile wine that can be enjoyed with or without food.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Attractive aromas of fresh raspberries and blackberries with a lightly herbal note, too. The palate has a very deep-set delivery of rich, plush, plum and berry flavors with smooth, long-form tannins. Deep, profound, plum-soaked finish with latent, toasted-spice warmth to close. Pleasure with interest.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the 2018 Appellation Lunlunta Malbec, a red from an underestimated/forgotten zone of Mendoza, where Malbec seems to be very expressive and floral. The grapes were picked reasonably early, and they fermented with 100% full clusters. Only half of the wine matured in oak. I already liked the two previous vintages, but in 2018, they selected cooler plots for this bottling, resulting in a fresher and more ethereal wine, with a captivating personality within the classical profile.
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.
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, divided into several distinctive sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley, is the source 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 that it never knew in its homeland where a finicky climate gives mixed results. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Pinot Noir are all widely planted here as well (and sometimes even blended with each other or Malbec). Mendoza's main white varieties include Chardonnay, Torrontés, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
Celebrated for its bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec has enjoyed runaway success in Argentina since the late 20th century. The grape originated in Bordeaux, France, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends. A French agronomist, who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, brought Malbec to Argentina in 1868. Somm Secret—If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet with its combination of dense fruit and soft tannins.