Argentina is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. Argentine wine, as with some aspects of Argentine cuisine, has its roots in Spain. The wines started being exported during the 1990s, and are currently growing in popularity, making it now the largest wine exporter in South America. The most important wine regions of the country are located in the provinces of Mendoza, San Juan and La Rioja. Salta, Catamarca, Río Negro and more recently Southern Buenos Aires are also wine producing regions. The Mendoza province produces more than 60% of the Argentine wine. Due to the high altitude and low humidity of the main wine producing regions, Argentine vineyards rarely face the problems of insects, fungi, molds and other grape diseases that affect vineyards in other countries. This allows cultivating with little or no pesticides, enabling even organic wines to be easily produced. There are many different varieties of grapes cultivated in Argentina, reflecting the country's many immigrant groups. The French brought Malbec, which makes most of Argentina's best known wines. The Italians brought vines that they called Bonarda, although Argentine Bonarda appears to be the Douce noir of Savoie, also known as Charbono in California. It has nothing in common with the light fruity wines made from Bonarda Piemontese in Piedmont. Torrontés is another typically Argentine grape and is mostly found in the provinces of La Rioja, San Juan, and Salta. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and other international varieties are becoming more widely planted.
- Item #: i_378352Bottle Size: 750mlAlamos crafts quality wines from Argentina, offering the best of the country's high altitude vineyards at an incredible value. Alamos grapes are grown at the foothills of the Andes Mountains at elevations of 3,000 to 6,000 feet, where intense sunlight, cool evening temperatures and mineral-rich irrigation from mountain snowmelt translate to bright aromatics and rich flavors. Alamos Chardonnay offers flavors of ripe apple, apricot and peach with layers of tropical fruit. Oak aging lent this wine aromas and flavors of brown spice and butterscotch, creating a full mouthfeel and lingering finish.
- Item #: i_377778Bottle Size: 750mlThe purple-colored Malbec Blend contains 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Bonarda. The wine was aged in French and American oak. It offers up a nose of cedar, black cherry, and plum leading to a dense wine with plenty of savory black fruit flavor, a forward personality, and good length.
This organic wine is stored in American and French oak barrels for nine months; a quarter of this time is spent in new oak barrels. Rich dark violet colour. Intense aroma of dark berries and plums. The taste has elegant tones of concentrated fruit, coffee and tannins.
- Item #: i_381180Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "Produced with grapes from one vineyard in Chacayes in the Valle de Uco, the 2016 BenMarco Malbec is floral, spicy, aromatic, showy and expressive, with great freshness and lots of aromatic herbs, black pepper and flowers. This has both good ripeness and freshness, with very fine tannins. It's a short (the shortest!) vintage with moderate alcohol but good concentration. 200,000 bottles produced. In the last few years, this has been sourced from Altamira." Ben Marco has been one of our favorite value-priced Malbec’s for some time. Showcasing rich, dark fruit and silky tannins, this is a delicious, crowd pleasing wine. It has the concentration and juicy flavors we love along with impressive lift and vibrancy.
- Item #: i_380678Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "Even after only a few weeks of being bottled, the 2017 A Lisa was expressive, exuberant and open. It has a little less alcohol and more acidity than the 2016 I tasted next to it, but it is especially much cleaner and more focused. It's always a similar blend of grapes from 15- to 40-year-old vineyards, mostly Malbec with 9% Merlot and a pinch of Petit Verdot. It fermented with 10% full clusters and matured in used barriques and stainless steel vats for ten months. 2017 saw a warm couple of weeks around the harvest, but the wines show moderate to low alcohol (lower than 2016) and good freshness in a balanced year. Proprietor and winemaker Hans Vinding Diers compares it to 2011, with mostly red fruit, a touch of black too, juicy and with balanced ripeness. It has a pleasant mouthfeel, with lightness, bright fruit and very nice acidity. I read the note I wrote for the 2013, and the 2016 feels very much like that vintage, certainly closer to the 2013 than 2015, which was riper. 90,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in February 2018."
- Item #: i_380795Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 96James Suckling: 97JAMES SUCKLING 97 POINTS - "Very deep and dark with enormous concentration but also a lot of finesse. There’s some toast and chocolate from oak, as well as great freshness. Stunning harmony and a very long finish that tells a totally fascinating story. A blend of 73% cabernet sauvignon and 27% malbec."
- Item #: i_377329Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Vinous Media: 92James Suckling: 94JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "This deep and layered white shows sliced apple, cream and stone flavors. Full body. Dense yet fresh. Long and flavorful."
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The super fresh and elegant 2015 Catena Alta Chardonnay has penetrating aromas and I could swear I smelled wet stones, a soil-driven white that feels cleaner and sharper than the 2014. The palate has electric acidity, moderate alcohol and great freshness. It finishes with an austere, mineral-driven sensation. It would be fun to put this wine as a ringer in a blind white Burgundy tasting..."
- Item #: i_378528Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95The epic tale of the noble Malbec grape is like no other, and the label for Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2015 pays tribute to the variety’s history in France and its rise in Argentina. Four female figures embody different landmarks in the history of the grape. Today, the Catena family's fourth generation leads the high-altitude renaissance in Argentina, returning Malbec to the sky... where it belongs.
Of course this amazing label caught our interest immediately-- but even without such artwork adorning the bottle, we know the Catena family and family of wines because of the utmost quality found within each bottle that bears their name. That there is such a beautiful label, and one that fits well with this time of year, is really gilding the lily. A 95-point wine from the family that put the wines of Argentina on the map-- sounds like a win-win wine to us!
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SYMBOLISM BEHIND THE LABEL
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine represents the birth of Malbec. She is a strong, Old World presence, lingering at the bridge in Cahors, where Malbec came into its own.
Next, the Immigrant symbolizes the movement to the New World and the unknown explorers and adventurers who connected Europe with the Americas.
Phylloxera personifies the death of Malbec in the Old World, which enabled its rebirth in the new.
Finally, there is Bodega Catena Zapata, represented by Adrianna Catena, who depicts birth, earth, and motherhood, sharing the riches of the New World.
WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The 2015 Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino blends grapes from Angelica Vineyard in Lunlunta and Nicasia Vineyard in Altamira. It's a classical Malbec that fermented in 225- and 500-liter rolling oak fermentors and matured in French barrique for 18 months. They have changed the image and also the blend for this wine, which is now all from old vines. The label shows the history of Malbec with four relevant women (including Madam Phylloxera!) from the 12th century to the rebirth in the 20th century. This is ripe and heady, very open and expressive, with violets and juicy fruit. This is a new blend to break the tendency of so many single-vineyard bottlings and goes back to the blending traditions of the past. It shows really well—expressive, open and ready. It kept growing and growing in the glass, becoming more focused and even more fresh, at one point getting very close to the freshness of the 2016!"
JANCIS ROBINSON - "Nicolas Catena Zapata is justly credited with putting Argentinean wines on the world map—by the best expedient of focusing entirely on quality. It's great to know he has started a wine dynasty, too."
- Item #: i_380164Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 90 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 90 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Appellation Tupungato offers more freshness and vibrancy compared to the Catena Chardonnay, giving up classy notes of pears, melon, and spice, with just a hint of minerality and citrus coming through with time in the glass. Nicely balanced, medium-bodied, and impeccably made, it’s a rock-solid Chardonnay to enjoy over the coming 2-3 years."
- Item #: i_377265Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91James Suckling: 92WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The fresh, floral and expressive 2016 Catena Malbec blends grapes from different parts of Mendoza: Lunlunta, Agrelo, Altamira El Cepillo and Gualtallary. It fermented in stainless steel and matured in French and American oak barrels for an average of 12 months. It's straight and a little austere but has deep flavors. Superb quality for the price and volume. 984,000 bottles produced."
- Item #: i_380683Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 92WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS; #18 WINE SPECTATOR TOP 100 WINES 2017 - "Refined and rich-tasting, with effusive minerality to the red berry and cherry flavors, layered with plenty of creamy accents. Pepper and cigar box notes show on the long and complex finish. Drink now through 2022."
"A Swiss businessman and Napa vintner Donald Hess bought Bodega Colomé in 2001 and immediately set about modernizing the vineyards and winery in the remote Salta region of the Andes, in the north of Argentina. The estate Malbec, a 100 percent varietal bottling, blends fruit from four vineyards ranging from 5,700 to a dizzying 10,200 feet in altitude; the sun exposure at such elevations promotes thicker skins on berries and thus a more concentrated wine. After 15 months of aging in French oak barriques, this wine spent six months in bottle. It's an expression of a daunting terroir at an approachable price." - Kim Marcus, Wine Spectator
- Item #: i_380452Bottle Size: 750mlThe characteristic white wine grape of Argentina has recently been linked with the Malvasia grape vis-à-vis DNA research. And the wonderful aromas released certainly suggest a Malvasia heritage: notes of peach, apricot, honeysuckle and general floral tones; simply beautiful. The palate echoes the florals and again, stone fruits come to the fore, all enwrappedin a light background minerality.
Substainably farm Vineyards.Sustainable winegrowing not only improves wine quality, but helps to compete in the global market place where consumers are increasingly interested in knowing that the foods and wines they enjoy are produced in an environmentally friendly manner.” Robert P. Koch, President & CEO of the Wine Institute.
- Item #: i_382608Bottle Size: 750mlCuvelier Los Andes is owned by Bertrand and Jean-Guy Cuvelier, part-owners of renowned Bordeaux Chateau Leoville-Poyferre in Saint Julien. The estate is located in the Uco Valley at the foothills of the Andes and encompasses 115 acres of still young vines. The consulting winemaker is Michel Rolland.
- Item #: i_382548Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 92JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "Very interesting aromas of dried-fruit, figs and hints of walnuts and spices. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a long, caressing finish, which shows finesse and structure."
Cuvelier Los Andes is a project from Bordeaux's legendary Cuvelier family, owners of Le Crock, Camensac and Léoville-Poyferré. It is bright purple-colored, with an opaque center and a muted nose that requires plenty of air and coaxing to unfurl the heady, ripe black fruit and violet aromas with a lactic overtone. It has a full-bodied palate and a lush texture, thick and dense, with good acidity, freshness and balance. This is a very good, powerful Malbec at a very good price.
- Item #: i_380419Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 91James Suckling: 91JAMES SUCKLING 91 POINTS - "A juicy and fruity wine with berry and cherry character. Hints of flowers. Medium to full body. Balance of fine tannins. A blend of malbec, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, merlot and syrah."
WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "A ripe, muscular, full-bodied red, with concentrated dark fruit flavors that feature plenty of Asian spice and smoke notes. Mocha and dark chocolate accents fill the finish. Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2022."
Cuvelier Los Andes is owned by Bertrand and Jean-Guy Cuvelier, part-owners of renowned Bordeaux Chateau Leoville-Poyferre in Saint Julien. The estate is located in the Uco Valley at the foothills of the Andes and encompasses 115 acres of still young vines. The consulting winemaker is Michel Rolland."
- Item #: i_380436Bottle Size: 750MLThe origins of the Cuvelier family’s wine exploits begin in Bordeaux in the early twentieth century with the purchase of Château le Crock in St. Estèphe in 1903. But, for many, they are best known for their ownership of Château Leoville Poyferré, which they bought in 1920. In the 1990s, the family spread their wings as they turned their attention to Mendoza in Argentina, working first with Michel Rolland and then by 1999, they had begun to plant their own vineyards.
A big, grippy red, with dense, powerful and lavishly spiced flavors of blackberry, dark plum and dried cherry. Creamy midpalate, presenting a long, rich finish filled with pepper and cocoa powder notes.
- Item #: i_382555Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 91Decero, meaning "from scratch", was born of a bare patch of land and a family's love affair with wine. Winemaking in Thomas Schmidheiny's family went back to his grandparents in Switzerland and, just as Napa had inspired his mother, Adda, in the 1970s, so too did Agrelo capture the heart and mind of Thomas, when traveling over the Andes into Argentina, 20 years later.
Starting "decero" was exactly how Thomas Schmidheiny dreamt of beginning a world-class vineyard, free from constraint of tradition and full of passion. Here in Agrelo, the source of some of Argentina's finest red wines, Thomas instinctively knew that he had found the place to continue the family legacy and to handcraft wines whose allure would lie in being true to their origin.
And what a wine we have! The nose is a mix of sweet, dark red fruits, berries, cherries and currant, accented with a streak of spices, cherry liqueur, underbrush and wet rose. Rich, sexy, inviting. The sweet fruits continue in the palate with cherries and cassis in the fore as touches of cocoa wrap themselves in velvety tannins, notes of kriek Lambic and a brushing of minerality and earth. The finish is long but uplifting as the tannins and bright acidity keep the focus upward and onward.
WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS 'SMART BUY' - "Big and rich, with zesty acidity behind the dark plum, blackberry and dark currant flavors. Chocolate nib notes show midpalate, while creamy accents fill the pure, fruit-filled finish. Drink now through 2024. 3,500 cases imported."
- Item #: i_382658Bottle Size: 750mlCERTIFIED ORGANIC
WINE ENTHUSIAST 90 POINTS - "A saturated purple color and dusty but concentrated blackberry and cassis aromas set up a lush palate that's stacked with fruit. Plum and berry flavors are big and fruity, while this blend of Malbec and Syrah with a touch of Cabernet is steady and smooth on a plump dark-fruit finish."
- Item #: i_383606Bottle Size: 750mlIt is a wine of bright yellow with green shades. In the nose it presents aromas of tropical fruits with citrus and floral notes. Concentrated notes of peach and green apple with a hint of mild spices are perceived in the mouth. The end is clean with a fresh acidity. It is ideal to drink as an aperitif and with seafood, fish and goat cheese.
- Item #: i_382832Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 95WINE SPECTATOR 95 POINTS - "An unctuous red, with a deep well of blackberry, dark plum, currant and black olive flavors, backed by plenty of rich savoriness and firm tannins. Creamy midpalate, offering a buoyant finish that lingers with chocolate and spice details. Drink now through 2024. 225 cases made."