Today we have two fantastic, critically acclaimed whites to share with you from one of Argentina’s best-known wineries.
Catena Zapata is a family-owned estate based in Agrelo in Luján de Cuyo with vineyards throughout the Mendoza region. The original family winery was founded in 1902 by Italian Nicola Catena and was eventually passed on to his grandson Nicolás Catena Zapata. Nicolás was one of the first to introduce many European winemaking techniques to Argentina and was instrumental in putting high-altitude Argentinian wines on the map. Currently, Laura Catena, his daughter and fourth-generation winemaker of the family, runs the winery. She also established the Catena Institute of Wine, which focuses on the study of terroir and sustainability and has resulted in Catena Zapata becoming one of the most studied estates in the world.
The famous Adrianna vineyard is located at almost 5,000’ elevation where the extreme high-altitude results in intense sunlight and cool nights, only a few degrees above freezing even in the summer, and night-day temperature variations are between 15 – 20 degrees.
White Bones Chardonnay comes from select rows within Block 1 of the Adrianna Vineyard. The name refers to the soil underneath the vines, which is layered with calcareous deposits and limestone as well as fossilized animal bones – remnants of a river that used to pass through the region. The Wine Advocate’s Luis Gutiérrez calls this 2019 iteration “truly outstanding…this is a very recognizable wine” awarding 98-points.
White Stones Chardonnay again comes from select rows within Block 1 of the Adrianna Vineyard. This time the name refers to the ground beneath the vines which is covered with oval white stones. Luis Gutiérrez describes the 2019 White Stones as “amazing”, worthy of its near-perfect 99-points.
Gutiérrez awarded both wines their highest scores to date commenting that the 2019s show more “marked personality” thanks to the cooler than average year and the winery’s better understanding of the terroir, with the White Bones being more aromatic and the White Stones more minerally. With only around 6000 bottles of each produced for the world, these are in very high demand. Availability is limited, so don’t delay if you would like to order.
Bodegas Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard White Bones Chardonnay 2019 3x75cl
£190 IB per case 3
98 Points | Luis Gutiérrez | The Wine Advocate
The very minty 2019 White Bones Chardonnay comes from select rows within Block 1 of the Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary. The name refers to the soil underneath these rows, which is layered with calcareous deposits and limestone as well as fossilized animal bones—remnants of a river that used to pass through the region, closer to Los Cerrillos del Jaboncillo; it’s an old soil in a new formation. 2019 is a cool vintage, and the wine is only 12.6% alcohol and has notable acidity (8.1 grams), and it always has a more extroverted personality than the more austere White Stones. It has tons of aromatic herbs, thyme, lavender, lemongrass, rockrose and balsamic with some curry (the wine had some aging under flor), and it has a vibrant palate where the acidity is effervescent and lively and the finish salty. It’s vibrant and sharp, more in the style of a Chablis. Truly outstanding. This is a very recognizable wine. 6,000 bottles were filled in May 2020.
97 Points | James Suckling
Honeysuckle, ripe pear and some dried apple. So perfumed. Full-bodied with incredible intensity and length. So much green-apple character and lots of flowers. Dried mango, too. The touch of flor growth in the barrel gives this unique character. Goes on for minutes on the finish. Endless, vibrant acidity. Minerally texture. Drink now or hold.
Bodegas Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard White Stones Chardonnay 2019 3x75cl
£185 IB per case 3
99 Points | Luis Gutiérrez | The Wine Advocate
The amazing 2019 White Stones Chardonnay comes from a select group of 27 rows planted on lot I of the Adriana Vineyard, and the composition of those rows is soil with white oval stones covered by gravel. The Adriana Vineyard is planted at an altitude of almost 1,500 meters above sea level, in the district of Gualtallary in Tupungato. The stony soil prevents deep root growth, providing optimum drainage. This soil, which is very poor in organic matter, contributes to the vines’ permanent stress conditions. The cool nights allow for very slow ripening, optimal acid retention and low yields.
This is always a more austere wine than the White Bones, more mineral and restrained, less aromatic, with great balance, a little higher in alcohol and with very good acidity, rounder and more Meursault than Chablis but still with citrus freshness and pungent flavors and always some spice (curry) because of the aging in barrel with flor. This year, the two whites show a more marked personality, possibly aided by the style of the cooler year but also because the winery has a better understanding of the places. It’s still very young and undeveloped; it’s drinkable now, but with more time in bottle, it should develop greater complexity. Now the finish shows acidity and salt, which make it very vibrant. 6,600 bottles were filled in May 2020.
97 Points | James Suckling
A very fresh, bright white with sliced apple, pear and light cream. Full-bodied with a very pretty texture. Mineral, chalk and lightly salty mineral undertones. Intense finish. Really takes off. Drink now or hold.
Please note, this is a pre-arrival offer, the wine will arrive in early 2022.
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