When I think of classic Argentinian wineries, Bodega Catena Zapata is one of the first that comes to mind. Not only is Catena one of the premier exporters of Argentinian wine to the US, but it’s also a century-old, family-owned winery that is distinctly South American.
Nestled in the high altitude wine country of Mendoza, Catena has come a long way from its humble beginnings in the early 20th century. Italian-born Nicola Catena planted the first Catena Malbec vineyards in 1902, and despite a somewhat rocky history, the winery has come up on top. 21st century Catena is a shining star in the Argentinian wine scene, and its future looks even brighter with veteran winemaker Nicolas Catena and his daughter Laura at the helm.
Catena, as well as Argentina at large, may be known for Malbec, but both Catena and Argentina have a lot more to offer the world of wine than one red Bordeaux varietal. Today’s Great Weekday Wine is the 2009 Catena Chardonnay, and it is, in deed, a big value bottle of Argentinian wine. In the glass, the wine is a pale green/straw yellow with fresh pear, apple and some floral notes on the nose. In the mouth, the wine’s lively acid and enticing fruit balance each other well, and are complimented by a rich-textured minerality, butter and spice which adds depth to this already tasty mouthful. The finish keeps the flavors and acidity going and rounds the wine out beautifully. The Catena Chardonnay is a fresh, luscious wine – and at just around $15 a great value. If you haven’t jumped on the South American bandwagon yet, perhaps now is the time, and perhaps Catena is the place to start.
Recommended. 90 points.
Also rated 90 points by The Wine Advocate’s Jay Miller.
Interested in learning more about Laura Catena and the family vineyards? Check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s interview on Wine Library TV from October 2010.
Have you explored the Catena wines? What’s your favorite?