By a stroke of coincidence, while I was in Victoria (Vancouver Island, not Australia) today I got to try through this set of wines from Argentina star winery Catena, presented by Catena’s Andrea Nuñez and Daniel Stiefvater of Trialto (the company that brings them into this part of Canada). I was impressed, especially by the two high-end Chardonnays, and also the Malbecs. The wines here seem to have moved in a positive direction: they were always good, but they’ve got better. For more information on the rather special White Bones and White Stones Chardonnays, and why they are different, see here.
Catena Alta Historic Rows Chardonnay 2014 Mendoza, Argentina
Adrianna and Domingo vineyard, 70% malolactic, 10-12 months in oak. Textured and nutty with some fine spiciness. It’s broad and mealy but there’s nice acidity with a bit of tension on the finish. Fine spicy finish, with some nuttiness. 92/100
Catena Adrianna Vineyard White Stones Chardonnay 2013 Mendoza, Argentina
Fermented and aged in in 500 litre puncheons for 20-24 months. From stony soils with some limestone on them. There’s intensity to this wine, which shows pear and peach fruit with some lemony detail. Complex fennel and nut characters, as well as a bit of waxiness, and also a distinct slightly resinous mint character that reminds me of Fernet and Mediterranean herbs. Lovely mineral characters on the finish. Intriguing combining richness and freshness. 94/100
Catena White Bones Chardonnay 2013 Mendoza, Argentina
This is from just 100 m away from the white stones, and it’s completely different. So fresh, floral and mineral with lovely precision and fine lemony fruit. There’s a really lovely mineral quality here with a stony edge and taut citrus fruits, as well as some subtle mint characters lurking. There’s a really fine lemony finish that just keeps on going. A beautiful wine with concentration, purity and finesse. 96/100
Catena Alta Malbec Historic Rows 2013 Mendoza, Argentina
Four vineyards: La Pyramide, Angelica, Adrianna and Nicasia. Sleek, floral nose with lovely fresh cherries. The palate is supple and fruit driven with great balance and a lovely stony detail to the cherry and plum fruit. I love the floral aromatics and the freshness on the palate. 94/100
Catena Alta Cabernet Sauvignon Historic Rows 2011 Mendoza, Argentina
Two vineyards: La Pyramide and Domingo. Some warm cedary notes alongside the chalky black fruits on the nose. The palate is fresh and detailed with some spicy warmth, some grainy, chalky gravelly structure and a nice savoury edge to the blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. Very stylish. 93/100
Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2011 Mendoza, Argentina
Nicosia and Adrianna vineyards, 24 months in oak. Textural and concentrated with a fine-grained tannic structure and a hint of oak (but it’s well integrated). The palate combines fresh, floral, pretty red cherry and berry fruits with some structure and an appealing, sweet, rounded textural quality. There are layers of flavour here. It’s modern and ripe but beautifully balanced and beguiling. Power and elegance combine. 94/100
Nicholas Catena Zapata 2011 Mendoza, Argentina
A blend that depends on the year. This is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Malbec. Sweetly aromatic, liqueur-like blackcurrant fruit nose is pure and modern. Concentrated palate with structured blackcurrant and berry fruit with fine spices. Quite structured with some freshness on the finish. A modern wine with real class, and which needs a bit of time to show its best. 93/100
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com3 Comments on Some lovely high-end wines from Catena, Argentina
3 thoughts on “Some lovely high-end wines from Catena, Argentina”
We will never see them I think here in AB. Entry level Catena not my thing sorry to say.
Entry level are what they are. Alta is next step up and are fabulous but then the leap to White Stones and White Bones and to the Argentino Malbecs is a thrill ride. We serve the Altas and Bones/Stones & Argentino every Thanksgiving now.
Thanks again Dr Goode for meeting and tasting these great wines while you were in Victoria. Also, excellent link/post on the special soils of Adrianna vineyard from your time there in 2014.
Bob Parsons – these wines ARE available in Alberta – http://trialto.com/ab/en/
The Trialto Alberta team would be happy to assist you in finding them.