2010 Catena Zapata "Catena Alta" Chardonnay Mendoza
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2010 Alta Catena Chardonnay includes just a touch of botrytis that Alejandro Vigil believes adds a little complexity. That is evident on the bouquet, which offers wild honey, jasmine, nectarine and crushed stone aromas that are well-defined. The palate has good weight on the entry, with subtle notes of orange zest, dried apricot, quince and shaved ginger. It builds in the mouth, delivering a very focused, intense finish that you could say, sits comfortably between Old World and New. Drink now-2017+ .
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright medium yellow. Subtle stone fruits and brown spices along with a carnal, truffley nuance on the perfumed, very ripe nose. Juicy, suave and fresh in the mouth, showing a more unctuous texture than the regular 2011 chardonnay but with plenty of framing energy. The peach and ginger flavors display excellent depth. Finishes dry and stony, with insistent minerality and a dusty talc-like texture. Under winemaker Alejandro Vigil, Catena is now picking chardonnay as much as two or three weeks earlier than just a few years ago, with the first grapes coming in with pHs in the very low 2.7 to 2.8 range.
*Editors' Choice* Among Argentinean Chardonnays, Catena's Alta is among the very best. This vintage supplies toasty apple, pear and banana aromas in front of a fresh, full-bodied palate that's clean, pure and Burgundian in character. Flavors of baked apple, oak and spice lead to a long finish.
"There is no need to introduce Catena Zapata," writes Wine Advocate's Neal Martin. "I visited the winery, which stands like an Egyptian pyramid looking for its sphynx, and spent the entire morning darting from one room to another tasting the entire portfolio of wines from the family. Naturally, it was an honor to meet Nicolas Catena himself, who has been instrumental in Argentina’s progress over the last three decades (see video). But what is pleasing is to find such a famous winery refusing to rest upon its laurels and in fact, through the irrepressible head winemaker Alejandro Vigil, a man who patently contemplates wines 24/7, Catena Zapata are looking forward and asking themselves questions about the style of wines they produce, what ought to be the next stage of their evolution, instead of merely replicating previous successes. Nothing exemplifies that more than the premium wines." (10/2010)