2009 Catena Zapata Malbec Adrianna Vineyard

Year: 2009
Appellation: Mendoza
Country: Argentina
Wine Spectator: 94
Wine Advocate: 97
Vinous Media: 95+
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.0%
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$150.00 LIST PRICE!!

"This dark, pure red features bright acidity to prop up the dark plum skin, cassis and wild berry notes that weave throughout layered flavors of spice, mesquite and underbrush. Mouthcoating, with a long, structured finish. Drink now through 2018. 200 cases imported. -NW" (WS)

"The 2009 Adrianna Vineyard Malbec is 30% whole cluster and 70% whole berry fruit, whereby the early picked Malbec is co-fermented with Viognier. It is raised in 60% new French oak for 18 to 24 months depending on the lot and undergoes 180 separate row micro-vinifications. It has a complex bouquet of blackberry, chalk dust, leather and the scent of an old English stately home. The palate is medium-bodied with a very taut, focused, tense entry. This has wonderful vivacity and outstanding minerality, the finish doing that rare thing of transporting you to its place, that is to say, high up in the Andes. You will be hard pressed to find a better Malbec than this. Drink now-2025+.

There is no need to introduce Catena Zapata. I visited the winery, which stands like an Egyptian pyramid looking for its sphynx, and spent the entire morning darting from one room to another tasting the entire portfolio of wines from the family. Naturally, it was an honor to meet Nicolas Catena himself, who has been instrumental in Argentina’s progress over the last three decades (see video). But what is pleasing is to find such a famous winery refusing to rest upon its laurels and in fact, through the irrepressible head winemaker Alejandro Vigil, a man who patently contemplates wines 24/7, Catena Zapata are looking forward and asking themselves questions about the style of wines they produce, what ought to be the next stage of their evolution, instead of merely replicating previous successes. Nothing exemplifies that more than the premium wines. Several years ago, it was 100% or even 200% new oak by rote. Nowadays, more consideration towards harmonizing the level of new oak to the fruit and the character of the wine has meant that it has been dialed down to 60%. Speaking to Alejandro, he might reduce it even further, but of course, it should depend upon what is best for the wine. In addition, there has been a revision in their approach to malolactic fermentation, as attested by their Chardonnays, the length of skin maceration (reduced from 30 to around 22 or 23 days) and more experimentation with whole cluster ferments and co-fermenting with white grape varieties. Anything is possible." (WA)

"(40% whole clusters; includes a bit of cabernet franc): Bright medium ruby. Tighter on the nose than the Nicasia bottling, hinting at black fruits and flowers. Then surprisingly smooth and suave in the mouth, with great class to the dark berry, game and bitter chocolate flavors. Penetrating minerality contributes to the impression of precision and verve. Finishes smooth and classically dry, with noble, mouthcoating tannins and superb persistence. I applaud winemaker Alejandro Vigil's use of cabernet franc to contribute perfume to these immensely rich malbec bottlings and wonder why more estates don't do this." (IWC)