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New Customers Save $30* with code SEPTNEW30
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Catena Malbec 2011
Pair with roast turkey, grilled steak, salmon and pasta with red sauce.
A dark and jammy red, with enough acidity to propel the roasted plum and wild berry compote notes. Layers of smoke, toasted spice and espresso emerge on the rich finish.
The 2011 Catena Malbec is produced with fruit grown in Lunlunta, Agrelo and Gualtallary fermented together with a little bit of Viognier from high altitude, which according to winemaker Alejandro Vigil had an amazing eight grams of acidity which contributed a lot of freshness to the blend. 30% of bunches fermented without destemming and as is common in the top Catena wines, these grapes from four different regions were harvested at three different points in time in search of diversity. This is very dark cherry-colored and has strong aromas of ripe plums, peach and apricot with some notes of orange rind. Medium-bodied with velvety, silky tannins, it is a good representation of Malbec in Mendoza. It is approachable now, but it should be even better in one year.
An assemblage of three different sites within Mendoza, each bringing varying but vital components to the finished wine. Shows power and guts but doesn’t go over the top, with an abundance of sweet, opulent damson and rich blackberry fruit augmented by the oak, retains balance and persistence.
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.