2018 Catena Zapata Chardonnay Appellation Tupungato

Year: 2018
Appellation: Mendoza
Country: Argentina
Wine Advocate: 92
Vinous Media: 90
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
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"There is another white in the Appellation range in 2018, so the 2018 Appellation Tupungato Chardonnay is not the only white anymore. This comes from two vineyards in Tupungato: one in Villa Bastías and one in Gualtallary. The full clusters were pressed, and 80% of the juice fermented in stainless steel while the rest was in oak barrels, then the full volume matured in used French oak barrels for nine months. It has a note of popcorn, a smoky and spicy whiff and a balanced palate where the acidity is very integrated, fresh but with some density. It's varietal and approachable. 180,000 bottles produced.

Catena is one of the quality leaders in Argentina and it's also a large winery, so they combine quality and quantity. Furthermore, they are one of the pioneers: They were the first to plant vineyards in Gualtallary, which is nowadays considered one of the highest potential zones in the country, but they were deemed crazy when they planted there.

The wines are phenomenal, true to their place and vintage, and the accompanying notes merit reading to see what each of their wines is. Comparing 2016 and 2017, it seems like 2017 was better in Altamira and 2016 was a great success in Gualtallary, but there's a lot more information on each wine. They also have a new range of non-sulfur wines called La Marchigiana.

Note: A few of these notes were already published several weeks ago, before the wines were offered by the négociants in Bordeaux." (WA)

"Bright yellow. Fruit-driven aromas of peach and lemon zest are lifted by a floral element. A step up in acidity and salinity from the entry-level Chardonnay, showing lovely intensity and a touch of vanillin oak to its ripe, dry flavors of passion fruit and white flowers. A tighter, more linear cool-climate style of Chardonnay than the entry-level bottling, with a sound stony spine and more finishing thrust and umami richness." (VM)