2014 Catena Zapata Malbec Adrianna Vineyard River Stones

Year: 2014
Appellation: Mendoza
Country: Argentina
Wine Advocate: 98
Vinous Media: 93+
James Suckling: 94
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :
$139.95

RARE AS HENS TEETH, I HAD TO BEG FOR NINE BOTTLES!!

"The 2014 Adrianna Vineyard River Stones is the second vintage of the Malbec from the stonier part of the Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary that is next to a dry river bed (the vineyard has 110 hectares that were planted in 1994). It fermented in open-top 500-liter oak barrels with full clusters. It was pressed before the end of fermentation, and it then finished fermenting without skins (like a white) and matured in 1,800-liter oak foudre for 18 months. It's a compact, super serious Malbec with concentration and power, great balance, abundant tannins, strong minerality, firm texture, great austerity and no concessions for sweetness whatsoever. It has all that it takes to develop for a long time in bottle. 5,400 bottles were filled in July 2016.

I tasted a very large collection of wines from Catena Zapata. All of these wines are highly recommendable, but the wines from the Adrianna Vineyard range are truly gobsmacking good and world class. I had the chance to taste slowly through three vintages of the three reds and two of the whites, and it made a fascinating comparison. The profile is austere and mineral, and sometimes they take time to open up. They are, of course, very young wines destined for a long life in bottle. The quality is extremely high, and it's a matter of preference as to which plot or vintage style you like best. 2014 is austere and a bit herbal, 2015 showed a little riper and 2016 seems to be the most complete of the three, with super sharp, linear whites and austere reds for the long haul. The 2014s were released a while ago, the 2015s are arriving on the market right now and the 2016s will take about one more year to hit the shelves. I'm talking reds, as the whites should be released by December 2018.

Just as I saw last time, the Appellation range is clearly the sweet spot, especially in 2016, when the wines clearly overdeliver. And it is impressive how the character of each wine is maintained and identifiable in every vintage." (WA)

"(fermented in new oak, then aged in old foudres): Bright ruby-red. Complex scents of blackberry and graphite minerality. Wonderfully supple and fine-grained but kept fresh and delineated by strong acidity and penetrating minerality. The brisk purple fruit and violet flavors are enlivened by an element of crushed stone. There's lurking fruit sweetness here but also a powerful spine that calls for aging. Finishes ripe and very long." (VM)

"A brightness and perfume to this grabs your attention. Full body, tight and focused with chewy tannins and a tangy acidity. Structured and muscular. Needs time to soften and come together. Made from organically grown grapes. Better in 2019." (JS)

Winery Notes:
The River Stones sector of Adrianna is planted in the path of a dried river filled with white stones covered with lime - limestone. These stones make for optimal drainage and extreme temperatures because the stones absorb the heat and moderate the nights but also function like ice cubes after a very cold night. Stony soil Malbecs tend to be extremely aromatic, rich and luxurious, just like the River Stones Malbec from Adrianna.

About the Vineyard:
Over the years, Nicolás Catena Zapata discovered the influence altitude has on fruit quality. As one climbs the altitudes of the Andes the average temperature decreases and the amplitude between day and night temperatures increases. Named after Nicolás Catena Zapata’s youngest daughter, the Adrianna Vineyard is located at almost 5,000 feet elevation in Mendoza. The soils in this 1.4 hectare parcel are filled with scattered limestone and marine deposits that covered the region millions of years ago.

Wine Production:
Descriptors: floral, exuberant, lengthy smooth tannins, metallic.