Grape(s): Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec
Localization: Mendoza, Argentina
Tasting notes: Nicolás Catena Zapata has an intense, deep purple color with bluish-black tones. On the nose, aromas of black fruits – blackberries, black cherries, black plums –predominate with subtle notes of vanilla and dark chocolate intermingled with savory hints of green olive and a stony minerality. On the palate, the wine is tremendously complex, unfolding layer upon layer of red currant, eucalyptus, and black pepper flavors. Black cherries and blackberries give way to cassis followed by a hint of saline minerality. The wine is remarkably concentrated with a firm tannic structure providing the backbone for the lush fruit. The finish is long, a foretoken of the long aging potential of this Argentine masterpiece.
Food pairing: Let the Nicolás Catena Zapata open in a decanter while you grill a Bone-in Ribeye Steak to perfection. Pour yourself a glass. Bliss.
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: Doctor Nicolas Catena always liked Cabernet Sauvignon so the wine that carries his name has a greater percentage of the noble Bordeaux grape. The 2010 Nicolas Catena Zapata is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Malbec sourced from La Piramide, Domingo, Adrianna and Nicasia. The fresh and balanced 2010 produced good ripeness of the fruit but the acidity was also great and the wine finished with 6.5 grams of acidity and a natural pH of 3.5, as the grapes are selected from cold soils. The first vintage was 1997, but this has to be one of their finest. This has the intensity of the Catena Alta Cabernet and the verticality and austerity of the Adrianna Malbec. It has very good acidity and intensity, while it has some velvety tannins. For a minute I was trying to remember the varietals as the sense of place, the freshness, and the earthy sensations clearly take over. A superb bottle of wine.
The Domain: Bodega Catena Zapata is one of Argentina's high-altitude Malbec pioneers. The Catena family began making wine in Mendoza in 1902. Nicolas Catena, the 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.