Perched high under the looming fog of the mountains in Mendoza, Argentina, sits the Catena Zapata Vineyards. Harnessing the raw power of nature, they utilize superior wine-making knowledge and employ it with the unique conditions of their high-altitude location, to craft some of the world’s finest malbec.
At Oliver & Bonacini we exude excellence and celebrate the best in both food and wine. It’s no wonder that the Catena selection has found it’s way onto the wine walls of their top-flight restaurants.
During the seminar, we learnt about Catena as pioneers for high-altitude wine-making. This elevation allows for maximum exposure to intense sunlight and a cool resting climate for the vines at night. This transitional climate allows the grapes to maintain a high acidity, and makes for a more complex wine. As we will later learn during our tasting of the Catena Alta Malbec, the higher the altitude the more complex and superior the grape.
Our district GM, Cyrus Cooper even had the opportunity to visit the Catena vineyard, commenting on the surreal beauty of the mountaintop vineyard and saw first-hand the passion and meticulous care that is put into their wine. …..next time I’m in Argentina i guess 🙂
Anthony Demas, (Director of Beverage Mgmt) conducted the seminar, and poured us a few glasses from the Catena Family, sharing his knowledge on the grape varietal and the unique process and composition of Catena wines. Here are a few of the tasting notes:
Catena Alta Chardonnay 2011
This elegant chardonnay has an interesting profile with it’s warm, buttery and even toasty scent on the nose. It also boasts fragrances of tropical fruit, pineapple and red apple. The Alta Chardonnay has a creamy, yet spicy texture (from oak-aging) and will leave your mouth watering due to it’s slightly higher acidity. The wine stays refreshing, taking on new flavors with every sip, developing in the glass with a nice long finish.
Catena Malbec 2011
Having a casual day, sitting with a friend on a patio or curling up your couch, this malbec is quite versatile. Available by glass/bottle at Oliver & Bonacini Cafe Grill, this malbec is very fruit-forward on the nose, emanating plum, dark fruit and blackberries. This particular grape is harvested from younger vines, that beingsaid, it does not have a lot of tannin, but enough texture that it wont dry out your mouth. The Catena Malbec pairs well with pasta dishes, chili and BBQ.
Catena Alta Malbec 2010
A high-end wine of superior quality. The magic within this bottle was born at 1,450m above sea level and the vines were rigorously selected for their smaller grapes, giving less juice with a rich currant color and elegant taste. On the nose, the Alta Malbec is fruity, spicy and smokey with a hint of tobacco. This wine has a higher tannin than it’s previously mentioned counterpart, and gives a smooth, silk-like texture due to better oak usage and complexity. This wonderful wine was built for aging, I recommend uncorking this sweet puppy on a special occasion, and decanting for a while before enjoying. It’s ill-advised to pair this wine with spicy food, due to spicy flavor already present in the wine. Try it with fatty meats like veal, ribs, steak or perhaps a lamb shank…remember, a rich and expensive wine such as this, has rich and expensive taste!
Having tasted and learnt the history, profiles and process for making these wines, I am encouraged to inspire my guests with the Catena story, having them truly appreciate and enjoy the bottle.
To learn more about the inspirational story of the Bodega Catena Zapata family and their wine craft, visit http://www.catenawines.com/index.html