Bodega Catena Zapata
2016 'Nicolás' Mendoza Cabernet Blend
Red Blend •La Piramide, Domingo, Adrianna, Nicasia
We’re lucky souls.
Having featured half a dozen or so Catena gems over the last couple of years, we could not be more thankful to one of the world’s greatest wineries for their generosity. If you were one of our Operatives who joined us for our Zoom tasting with Laura Catena last year, you are familiar with what we mean, who Nicolás is, and what this wine stands for.
Let’s put it this way. The inaugural 1997 vintage of this wine was put up in a series of blind tastings held in the USA and Europe against Château Latour, Château Haut-Brion, Solaia, Caymus, and Opus One.
It came in either 1st or 2nd in every one of those tastings.
Decanter puts it best, “It was Nicolás Catena who thrust Argentinian wine into the modern era. A widely traveled academic economist, he learned from his exposure in the 1970s both to great Bordeaux and the huge promise of Napa wines. In the early 1980s, Catena agreed the key was to plant the right varieties in the right location…” while Jancis Robinson adds that he’s “justly credited with putting Argentinean wines on the world map - by the best expedient of focusing entirely on quality. It’s great to know he has started a wine dynasty, too.”
And heiress Laura Catena is a 4th generation globetrotting vintner, Founder and Managing Director of the Catena Institute of Wine, an established author, a flying Emergency Medicine physician in San Francisco, a graduate of Harvard AND Stanford, oh, and last but not least, a mother of three beautiful children. All that in one. And this wine is her tribute to the patriarch whom she owes the legacy.
The wine? “Argentina’s equivalent of a great vintage of Lafite-Rothschild” says Robert Parker, the man who put Bordeaux in the modern limelight, he would know, right? His ratings survey historically put this in 4th place globally, with the other wines in the top 10 ranging from $300 to $15,000 a bottle. No joke.
Rather than add to the hyperbole of massive accolades, we’ll let the numbers do the talking…
Already the greatest value in the world of fine and rare wines, we present to you what Wine Advocate called “one of the best vintages” for Nicolás at the best price in America, by far, today only, or while it lasts.
97 Points – Decanter
“The 2016 vintage is a classic example, a superb blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with 31% Malbec and 8% Cabernet Franc that’s still in its infancy. Subdued aromas of cassis, black cherries and nuanced herbaceous and tobacco notes. A lovely fluid entrance builds on concentration and complexity. Malbec’s seductive juiciness joins a vertical Cabernet structure, tannins and integrated oak, with a long, lingering finish. A wine to wait for. Drink 2022-2036.”
97 Points – Tim Atkin, MW
“Consistently among the best red blends in Argentina, Nicolás combines Cabernet Sauvignon with 31% Malbec, aged in 20% new wood in 2016. There was no Agrelo component in this vintage, so it’s a cuvée from Gualtallary and Paraje Altamira. Elegant, perfumed and refined, this reflects the cooler vintage.”
97 Points – Wine Review Online
“This wine, their flagship, ranks with the great wines of the world. Both powerful and suave, it’s a joy to taste - and drink - even at its youthful age. It is intense, yet not heavy or overdone. Floral and fresh, a wonderful mix of mineral-like flavors intertwine with fruity ones. Nothing stands out, yet the wine is outstanding. Its glorious texture reveals the care that must have gone into selecting the grapes. The modest 13.6 percent stated-alcohol shows just how right Catena’s decision to plant at higher elevations was. And it reminds us that you don’t need super ripe grapes to make a super wine.”
96 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“This is backward, serious and austere, with terrific balance and great length, a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon from Gualtallary and 31% Malbec from Nicasia. There is also some 8% Cabernet Franc that seems to add a touch, and in 2016, it didn’t need irrigation because there was enough rain. This seems to follow the style of the 2013, a little tight, perhaps because of the Cabernets. This is nuanced and complex, with very good integration of the varieties and the oak, fruit, acidity and mineral texture. One of the best vintages for this bottling. Drink 2020-2026.”
What the Winery Says
- Wine director
- Alejandro Vigil
- Ernesto Bajda
- 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Malbec, 8% Cabernet Franc
- Mendoza, Argentina
- La Piramide, Domingo, Adrianna, Nicasia Vineyards
- 3,117 - 4,757 feet
- 24 months
- 100% new French oak