The 2019 Nicolás Catena Zapata was produced with 42% Cabernet Sauvignon from Gualtallary (Adrianna vineyard) and 30% Malbec from Altamira (Nicasia vineyard) and a high percentage of Cabernet Franc (28%) also from Adrianna, which took the place of Cabernet Sauvignon. It fermented in small oak barrels, concrete and stainless steel tanks with a short post-fermentative maceration. Élevage was in first and second use French oak barrels and lasted for 18 months, including malolactic. This is always quite classical in style, with some spiciness from the barrels and hints of smoke and toast, still very young and undeveloped. It has the traditional Bordeaux blend character and is herbal, floral and spicy, with a beautiful texture, very nice balance and very fine, chalky tannins. 2019 was a very dry year, and the berries were small, very healthy and delivered powerful wines. It's 13.7% alcohol and has mellow acidity and good freshness, reflecting a relatively cool season, coming though as elegant and balanced with the stuffing and balance to develop nicely over the years in bottle. 66,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in January 2021.
Drink 2025 - 2032
Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate (Aug 2022)
One of the classic Argentinian names, and one of the benchmark properties for the Place de Bordeaux. Very much on point in terms of estate signature - powerful, if subdued on the opening beats. This revs up through the mid palate, with grippy tannins, tons of black cherry, cassis and grilled oak, strays towards overpowered but pulls back to deliver crushed rock and black truffle on the finish. Clear ageing ability. Ungrafted vines, Fernando Buscema winemaker.
Drink 2024 - 2040
Jane Anson, janeanson.com (Jun 2022)
This has a complex nose of baked blackberries, grilled plums, dried earth, moss, pine cones, sandalwood, charcoal and cloves. It’s medium-bodied with firm, tightly knit tannins. Wow. So much going on. Layered, seamless and silky. Incredible length. Keeps going. 42% cabernet sauvignon, 30% malbec and 28% cabernet franc. Try this from 2024.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (May 2022)
Perhaps it is no surprise that this wine would make the grade because it has been a superstar for many years. Not usually a style that leaps out at me, this 2019 has an exotic perfume that brings excitement and enviable grace to the deep core of fruit found on the palate, and it is this counterpoint of elegance and structure that caught my eye. It needs a decade to settle, but this is a great wine.
Matthew Jukes, matthewjukes.com (Sep 2022)
The 2019 Nicolas Catena Zapata is a blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Malbec and 28% Cabernet Franc from the Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza. Having spent 18 months in new French barrels, it’s garnet red in hue. The 2019 has a nose of cedar, expressive, dark fruit notes such as plum and blackcurrant, gentle traces of sweet spices and herbs and a hint of amaretti. Broad and velvety in the mouth with a juicy palate and a delicate tea-like texture, the grip lends essential structure. This is a subtle, complex red of long-lasting flavor to which the excellent year has brought an extra level of finesse.
Drinking window: 2025 - 2040
Joaquín Hidalgo, vinous.com (Oct 2021)
About this WINE
Bodega Catena Zapata
Nicolás Catena developed a vinous knowledge from exposure to Bordeaux and Napa wines in the 1970s, combined with experience of working his family winery. His vision saw the establishment of the now 4th generation family winery, which has built its successes upon the fastidious viticulture & vinification of individual plots of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon of the highest quality.
Planted at higher altitudes in the Andes, the vines enjoying cool nights and soils to retain all-important acidity and freshness, a style which is apparent throughout their wines. A complex vinification includes 200 micro-vinifications to respect the individual rows, altitudes and harvest times, which are then married together in French oak for 24 months, and a further 2 years in bottle before release.
Initially produced in 1997, a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, the Nicolás Catena Zapata quickly gained traction when it outperformed numerous 1st growth Bordeaux and fine wines from across the world in a series of blind tastings. The wine has impressed the most renowned wine critics whose praise does not go unnoticed, given the loyal following Nicolás Catena Zapata has developed across the vinous globe.
With its western borderline dominated by the Andes and its 146,000 hectares of vineyards representing 70% of the country’s wine production, Mendoza is Argentina’s biggest and most important wine-growing province.
Mendoza’s vineyards are a haven to Old World varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, Bonarda, Sangiovese, Barbera, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. The province’s signature grape is Malbec.
Mendoza still produces large amounts of inexpensive wine for domestic consumption, as well as grape concentrate, but the sub-region of Luján de Cuyo stands out with some lovely velvety Malbecs, while the cool, gravelly Maipú is best for Cabernet Sauvignon.
The most exciting area in Mendoza for fine whites, however, is the Uco Valley, that has the highest vineyards, up to 1,200 metres above sea level. Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Chenin, Pinot Grigio and Torrontés fare particularly well in its cool climate. Its sub-region of Tupungato produces Argentina’s best Chardonnay.
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.