Nicola Catena planted his first Malbec vineyard in Mendoza in 1902. His grandson, Nicolás Catena, is known as the man who revolutionized Argentine wine and introduced high altitude Malbec to the world. The Historic Catena Zapata vineyards are planted with the Catena family’s proprietary selection of malbec plants: the Catena Cuttings. Catena Alta Malbec is sourced from Block 18 of the Angélica vineyard, Block 4 of the La Pirámide vineyard, Block 1 of the Nicasia vineyard and Blocks 3 & 9 of the Adrianna vineyard.
Vineyard lots are harvested at different times to ensure optimal natural acidity and moderate alcohol levels. Whole berries are hand loaded into small format fermentation bins and 225-500 L barrels; lots from each vineyard are treated individually; fermentation and maceration last for 10 – 35 days; 30% cold maceration. Wild yeasts. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in barrel; wine undergoes active battonage to protect it and drastically reduce the amount of SO2 needed. Aged for 18 months in French oak.
Catena Alta is an assemblage of historic rows within the Catena family Estate vineyards. The blend of these historic rows, like the marriage of sounds that create a symphony, yields a highly aromatic and elegant wine that speaks for the earth and the vines that have been tended by the Catenas for four generations. The Catena Alta wines can usually be drunk starting at three years after harvest and into the following one to two decades.
Varietal: 100% Malbec
Alcohol: 13.5 %
Total Acidity: 5.95 grams/liter
Aromas of graphite and dark fruit with hints of spice and tea bag. Mushroom too. Full body, yet refined and beautifully textured. Love the low oak. - James Suckling 95 Points
The blend of the 2014 Catena Alta Malbec changed to adapt to a slightly warmer vintage, and even if the source is the same, Angelica (Lunlunta), La Piramide (Agrelo), Nicasia (Altamira) and Adrianna (Gualtallary), the percentage of grapes from Gualtallary is higher in 2014. They also harvested earlier and the result is a wine with half a degree less alcohol than in the cool 2013 vintage and with slightly higher acidity. The results are magnificent, even if the wine is still very young and lightly marked by the elevage, the texture and the electric acidity provide a superb mouthfeel and surely a long life in bottle. 60,000 bottles produced. - Robert Parker 93 Points
(aged in 30% new oak, the rest concrete tanks): Deep ruby-red. Pungent scents of blackberry, violet, licorice and bitter chocolate are complemented by a candied berry note. Fine-grained and firm, with nicely integrated acidity energizes the wine’s middle palate. This classy Malbec’s intense dark fruit flavors are deep and rich but not at all ponderous. Dusty tannins spread out to saturate the palate on the persistent, gripping finish. Incidentally, winemaker Alejandro Vigil told me that he prefers Malbec over Cabernet Sauvignon in 2014 but Cabernet in the ”more Bordelais” 2015 vintage. - Vinous Media 91 Points