Mission Codename High on the Andes
Just another Catena day? No, it’s a TRULY SPECIAL one, actually.
No wonder Wine Advocate calls these “phenomenal, true to their place and vintage” wines.
100% pure single vineyard bliss and we go deep, from an already fair $120 per all the way down to $75 for one of the greatest Malbecs on the planet? With double 97s AND 96 points in astonishing accolades?
Catena takes the credit for the undisputed Master of Malbec - why is that so?
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.”
Heiress Laura Catena is a 4th generation globetrotting vintner, Founder and Managing Director of the Catena Institute of Wine, established author, Emergency Medicine physician in San Francisco, graduate of Harvard AND Stanford, oh, and finally, mother of three beautiful children. All that in one.
Back to the wine in our glasses, from 30-year-old vines grown at 3,600 feet elevation. Like NO OTHER Malbec that we know of. Black, blue, purple, red, and black fruits. All there, not making that up. And savory, dried herbs, and minerals, and crushed flowers, all hanging out at an exotic spice bazaar. Silk does not even begin to describe the plush mouthfeel. Truly monumental, as a testament to the unique and unsurpassed reign of Mendoza Malbec when in the right hands.
Now for the bad news, it’s very, very limited.
97 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2019 Malbec Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard comes from a vineyard planted in Altamira in 1996 at 1,095 meters above sea level with an old massale selection. It has contained ripeness and 13.7% alcohol from a cooler year in a warmer place. It’s a classical Malbec, balanced and elegant but also powerful with fine tannins. It finishes with violets and spice. It’s a Malbec with spicy oak. Drink 2022-2030.”
97 Points – Decanter
“Few red wines can rival grand Argentinian Malbec for drama and grandeur, and this version from the Altamira zone of La Consulta (in the Uco Valley) stood out even amongst its dramatic, strikingly profiled peers. It is jet black, just shot with purple at the rim. Soaringly expressive Malbec rose and tea leaf lifts from the glass with enviable purity, without a trace of distorting oak. In the mouth, it is deep and long: an arrow of fruit yet elegant, deftly textured with a snow of fine tannins, and devoid of alcoholic heat or intrusive, strenuous acidity. A sumptuous, haute-couture Malbec where the vineyard’s untrammeled fruit and inner radiance has been given voice.”
96 Points – Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“From Paraje Altamira, the 2019 Malbec Nicasia Vineyard was made with grapes from a selected set of rows in Parcel #1 of the Nicasia Vineyard and aged for 24 months in new and second use French barrels. Dense, bright purple in the glass. The fruitiness of the complex, attractive nose is down to the region. The nose delivers a mixture of fresh plum and blackberry with lavender and violet aromas, hints of country herb and notes from the aging process. Broad but delicate in the mouth with good energy. The palate is gently sculpted by chalky tannins made juicy by the freshness. The fruity intensity is enhanced by the texture. A superb Malbec. Drink 2021-2039.”
What the Winery Says
2019 Nicasia Vineyard Mendoza Malbec
- Wine director
- Alejandro Vigil
- Fernando Buscema
- 100% Malbec
- Paraje Altamira, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
- Nicasia Vineyard
- 3,500 feet
- Large gravel mixed with sand and loam
- 17 days
- Barrel Aging
- 24 months
- 100% French oak