2021 Bodegas Catena Zapata Appellation La Consulta Malbec
Laura Catena, the San Francisco-based daughter of owner Nicolas Catena, has focused on the terroir expression of Catena's Malbecs. With great success. Wine by wine you can taste the difference in altitude, soil and climate. The various vineyards in La Consulta, south of Mendoza, are combined in this wine into a real 'Appellation La Consulta'. Don Domingo Catena was already making wines here in 1902. The vineyards here, such as the Nicasia vineyard and the Angelica vineyard, are at an altitude of almost 1100 meters. This height is perfect for the malbec. It means temperatures that rise to around 33 degrees during the day. But it cools down considerably at night, so the difference between day and night is very large. This ensures powerful aromas and a pronounced freshness in the acids. This leads to a great expression of the unique terroir in the wine. Yields are low and the grapes are picked by hand. After fermentation, the wine matures in oak barrels, which makes it beautifully rounded. A pure glass of Malbec, powerful, smooth and fruity.
In the glass, this Malbec is deep purple red with an intense scent in the nose, powerful, ripe fruit, blueberries and cherries, beautifully smoky, broad, vanilla, spices, mocha.
As befits a Malbec, the Consulta from Zapata is full and peppery, wonderfully ripe and sultry, intense and concentrated, a velvety taste, lively by beautiful acidity. This is a good accompaniment to a seasoned lamb chop, spicy sausages, mature cheeses.
The leading house Catena Zapata has been active in Argentinian viticulture for 4 generations. Bodega Catena Zapata was founded by Nicola Catena who left Italy by sailing ship to Argentina in 1898. He eventually ended up in Mendoza and planted his first vineyard here in 1902 with the grape variety Malbec. His son, Domingo, inherited the winery and realized his father's dream of becoming one of the greatest vineyard owners in Mendoza.
In the 1960s, the winery went through a difficult period due to the poor economy and rising inflation. Nicolás Catena, Domingo's son with an economics degree, took over in the mid-1960s and concentrated on expanding distribution in Argentina. He sold the table wine producing winery and kept only Bodegas Esmeralda, the winery of fine wines.
Argentina was known at the time as a bulk wine producing country and Nicolás was therefore considered crazy. But he insisted on looking for the best locations to plant vineyards, including in Gualtallary at high altitudes. In the 1980s he started to plant the grape varieties Chardonnay and Malbec. According to his own vineyard manager, the latter grape would never ripen here, but fortunately for Nicolás he did.
It took him five years before he was completely satisfied with the Malbec grape in the 60-year-old Angélica vineyard for the production of the Catena Malbec in 1994. A little later he started producing the Catena Alta wines, from the best plots. from its vineyards. He also grew many clones of the Malbec and managed to find the most suitable vineyard for each of them.
In the late 90s he started making some top cuvées which he called Catena Zapata (after the name of his mother Angélica Zapata). These wines are produced exclusively in exceptionally good years. Bodega Catena Zapata produces five different lines, mostly from vineyards at an altitude of 900 meters or more: Catena Zapata, Catena Alta, Catena, Alamos and Argento.
|Type of Wine
|Drinking as of
|James Suckling rating
|Dry, Aged on wood, Powerful, Red fruit, Tannines, Full
|Barbecue, Cadeau!, Lekker luxe, Met vrienden, Open haard, Romantisch