Malbec & Argentina's high altitude vineyards (seminar with Catena wines) - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 09-08-2010

The second session I attended last Saturday at Pinehurst Wine Festival. Wines from Bodega Catena Zapata.
We saw some slides of the winery modeled to resemble Aztec architecture and of the deeply colored Malbec grapes. Some of the grapes for the wines are grown at an altitude of 5,000 feet in Mendoza. The higher altitude allows longer hang time without higher alcohol. Colder nights, thin air result in thicker but softer grapeskins. High percentage of resveratrol in Malbec.

2008 CATENA CHARDONNAY Juicy apple on nose and palate, faint suggestion of pineapple. A blend from two vineyards, one vineyard at 2800 feet and the other at 5000 feet. The mountain fruit maintains acidity. Winery uses French oak and ages for 9 mos. in barrels, only 30% new oak. This has received 90 or 91 points from prominent wine critics. (I'm a fan of the Catena Alta Chardonnay from a special block of Adrianna Vineyard.)

We had two wines from Tilia in which Catena has an interest.
2009 TILIA MALBEC/SYRAH 60% Malbec, 40% Syrah, Aged 6 mos. in French or American oak, 10% new oak.I thought it tasted quite astringent and tannic.

2009 TILIA MALBEC 100% Malbec. Cassis and black raspberry seemes accurate as descriptors of the wine. More oak than the Malbec/Syrah blend. One description mentions chocolate and sweet spice (which may be from the barrels.) Presenter says that Malbec (originating in Cahors, France) was bigger and more tannic and austere in France and has been transformed in the New World.

2006 ALMA NEGRA RED (BONARDA/MALBEC BLEND) 70% Bonarda, 20% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Franc. Project of Ernesto (Laura Catena's brother--they are great grandchildren I believe of the founder of the winery.) Bonarda is the second-most planted grape in Argentina. Others liked this wine better than I did.

2008 CATENA MALBEC 100% Malbec blended from Catena's four highest vineyards. Viscous. Deep purple-red with garnet rim. Cassis on the tastebuds and other dark fruits. Sells for $#18-$21. Richer, more body than the Tilia Malbec. 16 mos. in French and American oak, 35% new. I liked this and sought to buy some on Sunday but it may have been sold out.

2006 CATENA ALTA MALBEC 100% Malbec from the Angelica, La Pyramide (sp?), Nicaia, and Adrianna vineyards. Aged 18 mos. in French oak, 70% new. Received 93 pts. in Wine Advocate for current vintage. More intense than the previous wine. Sells in the $50 range.

- TheEngineer - 09-10-2010

WoW, ever since I've come back rom my trip in South America, I've been trying the Malbec whenever I can, which in Europe is frankly not enough. Thanks for the notes! It would have been nice to have tried that.