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_377406Bottle Size: 750mlBlood orange complements the ripe red berry fruit, with citrus peel and some exotic spices making this a complex nose. The signature acidity greets the palate upfront, with a whack (in the nicest sense) of fruit weight and grippy but supple tannins on the finish.
- Item #: i_350251Bottle Size: 750MLWINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2007 Finca Mirador was sourced from a 13-acre parcel in Medrano planted in 1921. The yields for this wine were 0.9 tons per acre with the wine aged for 15 months in new French oak. Purple-colored with a superb display of toasty new oak, lilacs, spice box, black cherry, and black raspberry, on the palate it sports an elegant personality, savory flavors, underlying structure, and a lengthy, 45-second finish. It, too, will drink well from 2013 to 2022."
- 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_383919Bottle Size: 750mlThis superb Bonarda offers a nose of intense raspberries with light floral notes. Ripe red berry flavors are combined with a touch of vanilla and lead into a soft, round finish. This wine is perfect as an accompaniment to vegetable and mushroom risottos, pasta with ragù sauce, and oven-cooked lean red meat.
- Item #: i_377824Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 95JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "Aromas of spices, smoke, berries and bark follow through to a medium body, medium round tannins and a wonderful finish. Love the finish of this, which gives a hint of walnuts, dark tea and ripe fruit. Very sophisticated. A blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon."
Bodegas Caro was born of an alliance between two wine cultures, (French and Argentine), two noble grape varieties, (Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec), and two royal families of winemaking, (Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and Nicolas Catena.) The name of the winery, Bodegas Caro is a contraction of the two family names, CAtena and ROthschild. Their plan was to produce a wine that would combine their expertise and the signature grapes of each producer. Together, these families have made a wine which delivers immediate gratification and can also be cellared over the mid-term.
Malbec is a powerful, exuberant fruity grape variety that benefits from the structure and elegance given by the Cabernet. These two grape varieties go well together with the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Bodegas Caro has succeeded in making a wine that is flat-out gorgeous and immensely satisfying.
- Item #: i_380185Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 93Winemaker Notes - "Intense Bordeaux color with brilliant violet hues. Fresh prunes aromas, dry figs and blackberries. Barrel aromas such as tobacco, vanilla and cedarwood. Sweet and velvety tannins. Great volume and body. Cacao, dark chocolate and subtle coffee notes can be found on its long lasting finish. Pairs perfectly with stews, meat, hard cheese, grilled meat, casseroles, pasta, pizza, spicy dishes and desserts."
Blend: 81% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Bonarda
JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - "Tight and focused with chewy yet polished tannins and a lovely texture. Shows tension and intensity. Medium to full body. Flavorful finish. Drink now or hold."
- Item #: i_381264Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker Notes - "The Catena Cabernet Franc Appellation El Cepillo presents a purple color with red ruby tones. The nose offers elegant aromas of spices, and fresh herbs as thyme and rosemary, red berries, cassis and raspberries, with layers of cedar. The mouthfeel is full and rich with cassis, raspberries flavors and notes of black pepper and oregano . The finish is bright and fresh with finely grained tannins. This versatile wine is fantastic paired with rich meat dishes such as stews and braises, Latin dishes with heat and a little kick such as enchiladas or moles and lamb dishes and tomato based pasta and sauces."
- 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!
click HERE to enlarge this picture
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: 750mlWINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "There is one white in the appellation range, the 2015 Appellation Tupungato Chardonnay, which is subtly balsamic and spicy from limestone-rich soils in Tupungato in the Valle de Uco, from two vineyards, in Villa Bastías and La Esmeralda. There are pungent flavors, very good intensity and balance and the chalky sensation is nicely coated by juicy fruit. One for the table."
- Item #: i_380668Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96James Suckling: 97JAMES SUCKLING 98 POINTS - "This is another phenomenal Fortuna Terrae that just rolls across the palate with amazingly complex and beautiful fruit. Full body yet tight and refined. Berry, light meat, mushroom and truffle character. Made from organically grown grapes. Love now."
WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "The 2014 Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae is from slightly deeper soils of the Adrianna vineyard in Gualtallary at 1,340 meters in altitude, and it is the "less" expensive of the three Adrianna bottlings. All of these wines ferment in 225- and 500-liter oak barrels and are aged in French barrels for 24 months. This is the one with more exuberant and floral aromas, open and showy within the austere style of the vineyard and the year. This is also the more open of the three. The palate reveals a silky texture with very fine tannins and great freshness."
ANTONIO GALLONI; VINOUS 95+ POINTS - "(from deeper soils than the River Stones bottling, and even higher in acidity; from 22-year-old vines that produced just 1.6 tons per acre of fruit): Bright ruby-red. Crushed blackberry, licorice, minerals and menthol on the nose, lifted by a violet topnote. Penetrating acidity and pungent minerality give the middle palate rapier-like cut. The youthful red berry flavors are compellingly deep and convey an exhilarating tart edge. The rising, palate-staining, floral finish showcases this site's fruit intensity and grip. A great wine in the making. These vines at an altitude of 4,725 feet are planted on calcaire soil similar to that used for the White Bones Chardonnay; the powerful acidity here is just over 5 grams per liter."
- Item #: i_377302Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93James Suckling: 95JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "Aromas of graphite and dark fruit with hints of spice and tea bag. Mushroom too. Full body, yet refined and beautifully textured. Love the low oak impression. Made in mostly concrete eggs. Fantastic. Drink now."
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The blend of the 2014 Catena Alta Malbec changed to adapt to a slightly warmer vintage, and even if the source is the same, Angelica (Lunlunta), La Piramide (Agrelo), Nicasia (Altamira) and Adrianna (Gualtallary), the percentage of grapes from Gualtallary is higher in 2014. They also harvested earlier and the result is a wine with half a degree less alcohol than in the cool 2013 vintage and with slightly higher acidity. The results are magnificent, even if the wine is still very young and lightly marked by the élevage, the texture and the electric acidity provide a superb mouthfeel and surely a long life in bottle. 60,000 bottles produced."
Nicola Catena, immigrated from the Marche region of Italy to Argentina in 1898. In 1902, he planted his first Malbec Vineyard in western Mendoza, an area that has become the heart of Argentina's Winegrowing Region! Today, his Grandson, Nicolas Catena, has been likened to such Industry Icons as Baron Philippe Rothschild, Robert Mondavi and Angelo Gaya! His family winery produces some of the finest wines in the world!
A project that started in the mid 1990's in an effort to produce a super-premium wine, the winemaking team of Catena began an in-depth investigation into the yields from specially selected, high altitude vineyards, identifying the individual rows that produce the best fruit. The Catena Alta Malbec is an assemblage of these historic rows within the Catena family's estate vineyards. Only the best bunches are chosen from these rows in four vineyards with fruit grown at different altitudes (up to 5000 feet above sea-level) to capture the many different expressions of the Malbec varietal. Vineyard lots are harvested at different times to ensure optimal natural acidity and moderate alcohol levels. The blend of these rows, like the blend of musical notes that compose a symphony, creates a wine that is layered and complex, concentrated yet nuanced, and above all else, delicious right now and worthy of further aging!
- 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_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_381267Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90Vinous Media: 90STEPHEN TANZER 91 POINTS - "Dark red-ruby. Very sexy spicy oak lift to the aromas of blackberry, boysenberry and licorice. At once juicy and supple, with good energy and a glossy oak element to the strong blackberry and licorice flavors. Quite silky and deep for this bottling. The rising finish features supple tannins, subtle sweetness and an absence of rough edges. An outstanding value."
WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The 2015 Patriota was a similar blend of Malbec from the Valle de Uco (Vista Flores) and Bonarda from Ribadavia matured in oak barrels for some ten months. There is no astringency or herbal notes in this blend, and the Malbec is nicely complemented by the slightly rustic character of the Bonarda."
- Item #: i_378988Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "The 2018 was bottled a few days before I tasted it, so the 2018 Hey Rosé! was one of the first wines from a year that has generated a lot of expectation given its quality and its size. This has moderate alcohol and remarkable acidity. It's still very young and has a reductive profile despite being fermented in concrete, but it was bottled early to sell in May. It's a pale rosé with freshness and natural acidity, from a vineyard worked specifically for rosé (they more or less do the opposite of all they do for the reds), harvested early. Fresh, easy to understand, clean, dry (even austere!) and ideal for the by-the-glass market. Even if the nose is still not there, the palate points at a serious rosé with a good 2-3 years of life."
- Item #: i_380934Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2013 Pinot Noir G Lot, like a majority of wines form Luca, is produced with fruit from Gualtallary in Tupungato, Uco Valley. There are three different types of soil in Gualtallary and they use vineyards from all those three soils here, which are harvested at different points in time with different maturities. 30% of whole clusters were used in the fermentation in open-top barrels. The nose is full of macerated cherries with a herbal and spicy twist. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins and good grip. It ends very tasty."