2018 Catena Malbec Lunlunta Mendoza

SKU #1523925 94 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark Attractive aromas of fresh raspberries and blackberries with a lightly herbal note, too. The palate has a very deep-set delivery of rich, plush, plum and berry flavors with smooth, long-form tannins. Deep, profound, plum-soaked finish with latent, toasted-spice warmth to close. Pleasure with interest. Inner quote mark (2/2020)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark I was very pleasantly surprised by the 2018 Appellation Lunlunta Malbec, a red from an underestimated/forgotten zone of Mendoza, where Malbec seems to be very expressive and floral. The grapes were picked reasonably early, and they fermented with 100% full clusters. Only half of the wine matured in oak. I already liked the two previous vintages, but in 2018, they selected cooler plots for this bottling, resulting in a fresher and more ethereal wine, with a captivating personality within the classical profile. Bravo for Lunlunta! (LG) Inner quote mark (10/2019)

91 points Vinous

Outer quote mark Musky dark raspberry, licorice, espresso and flowers on the nose, plus a whiff of milk chocolate. Classically dry and fine-grained but also revealing a subtle creaminess in the middle, with its juicy raspberry and mocha flavors still showing a bit of medicinal reserve. The lingering, rising finish features terrific floral lift. These century-old vines produce low crop levels, and a couple of what winemaker Vigil describes as "special lots" from this vineyard also go into Catena's Malbec Argentino bottling. (ST) Inner quote mark (9/2019)

91 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark Suave and well-spiced, with juicy richness to the zesty raspberry tart and plum pastry flavors, supported by medium-grained tannins. Chocolate and freshly ground nutmeg notes show on the finish. (KM) Inner quote mark (12/2020)

K&L Notes

For the last 5 years Catena has offered their appellation series in the US. This was started to showcase and elevate the different sub-regions within Mendoza. Mendoza is a very large region with a great deal of variability. It is a wine region where there are less than 50 miles separating a cold climate region like Champagne and a very hot region like North Africa. And it all can be labeled Mendoza! Lunlunta is located south of Mendoza City and is in the heart of where modern viticulture started in the region. The region is defined by its proximity to the Mendoza river which was instrumental in creating the sandy soils with a lot of silt and clay. Malbecs from this region are rich, and the clay really informs the texture and length of the mid-palate. This wine comes from a vineyard planted in 1930 and like all of Mendoza it is high elevation at 2700 feet. Fermented in stainless steel and aged in one year old French oak barrels. This is the classic Malbec, the perfect starting off point for the exploration of the diversity of the region.

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By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/26/2021 | Send Email
The first time that I saw that Catena was offering wines made from the different appellation in Mendoza it was like I was struck by lightning. It was love at first site. As a person who loves German wines and Burgundy I am inherently drawn to the concept of tiny differences in a vineyard making dramatic differences in the glass or is it vice versa? Regardless, from then on I would have a chance to talk about soils, rocks and elevation with a varietal that I have not had a chance to do so with before. A wine-nerd salesman's dream! I know I overshared in my enthusiasm with anyone willing to listen. I cannot wait to do it again! Malbec is a great varietal for the discussions, surprisingly. It is charming and very accessable. And as these wines have consistently shown over the last five years, Malbec conveys terroir very well. Sorry like I said I get very excited about this idea, ten sentences later and I haven’t even started directly talking about the bottle of wine in my electronic hand! Lunlunta is the perfect place to start talking about Mendoza and Malbec. Lunlunta is essentially located in the epicenter of the Argentine Malbec. Located just South of Mendoza city, it is here where, in the mid 19th century, the first real investment into modern viticulture in the region. This is where all the big wineries set up shop in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. The Mendoza river is one of its boundaries and it is located near several big bends. The soils here have more clay and silt and that really speaks through the wines. This wine has a rounder mid-palate, there is just a little more space for the blackberries, plums and dark cherries to play. Underneath that clay is sand, and that brings just a little tension to the wine, it keeps everything in line without being strict. This is uncomplicatedly delicious. Dark fruits, with a little floral aromatic lift, touches of fine spice and earth on the nose. All of those scents are present on the palate it is medium bodied with fine easy tannins. It is a wine that doesn’t need food, in fact half of the bottle will disappear while you are deciding what you want to eat. It’s easy going nature makes it very food friendly as well. There is a little tingle of minerality in the middle at the very end of this wine, it is catnip for me, I kept me sipping and sipping on this wine. Like I said earlier, this is a perfect place to start exploring Malbec and Mendoza if you want to know where else to go next, please send an email and I can direct you to the next. I also understand if you want to hang out here a little longer, I know I do.

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