2015 Catena Zapata Malbec Catena Alta Historic Rows

Year: 2015
Appellation: Mendoza
Country: Argentina
Wine Spectator: 90
Wine Advocate: 93
Vinous Media: 90+
James Suckling: 93
Wine Enthusiast: 90
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :
$33.95

"Finely textured, offering concentrated dark plum, cream and spice flavors that are well-structured. The finish lengthens out nicely, with minerally notes. Drink now through 2021. 5,500 cases imported. — KM" (WS)

"As with the other varietals of the range, I also had two vintages of this to compare, starting with the older 2015 Catena Alta Malbec. It is a mixture of grapes from multiple vineyards: Angelica, La Pirámide, Nicasia, Adrianna and Angélica Sur. It fermented in 225- and 500-liter oak barrels and had an élevage of some 18 months in French oak. You can notice the slightly riper year, and it does suffer a bit in comparison with the truly superb 2016 even though it's a noteworthy expression of Malbec with great freshness for the climatic conditions of the year. 66,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in November 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)

"Medium ruby-red. Complex aromas and flavors of black raspberry, currant, licorice and bitter chocolate; not quite as black fruit in character as many Argentine Malbecs. Classic intensely flavored, saline wine with excellent density and a touch of sweetness without any impression of weight. Very classy juice--but I'd give its dusty tannins another year or so to harmonize with the wine's fruit." (VM)

"Wonderfully fresh violets on the nose with just a hint of clove. Rich, powerful, creamy and fresh, with a long, polished finish. A serious Argentinian malbec with great balance. Drink or hold." (JS)

"Woodsy aromas of black fruit and gingerbread create a friendly nose that lacks exactness. This is bulky on the palate, with dense berry flavors that are foresty, minty and oaky. Spice and chocolate mint flavors blend with lightly herbal berry notes on the finish." (WE)