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
I also had the chance to taste the 2016 Catena Alta Malbec, when they used a higher percentage of grapes from Nicasia. In this vintage, it’s truly 100% Malbec that fermented in tank with full clusters and finished fermenting after pressing, without skins. It’s serious and elegant, with the year’s signature freshness. 2016 has really marked the wines with great freshness. This is serious and with zero sweetness, complete and direct. 42,000 bottles produced. - Robert Parker 94 points
Bright medium ruby. Lively black fruit aromas are accented by pepper and violet notes. In a juicier, leaner style than the 2015 version but still a seamless wine, offering noteworthy intensity and purity and a sexy touch of sweetness to its flavors of black fruits, bitter chocolate and violet. This wine currently shows less dimension than the 2015 version but it still needs another year or two in bottle to expand. Finishes with a light dusting of tannins and lingering notes of violet and chocolate. - Vinous Media 90 points