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2018 Catena Malbec Paraje Altamira Uco Valley

SKU #1525622 95 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark This takes a spicy stance with attractively matched oak and plums, currants and violets. The palate has such succulent, dark-plum flavors with long, polished tannins. Impressive poise and depth here. Inner quote mark (2/2020)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark The star of the appellation range is usually the Malbec from Altamira, and the 2018 Appellation Paraje Altamira Malbec does not disappoint. One of the plots was harvested quite early, and the rest fermented with full clusters and finished fermentation without skins, which seems to have added to the elegance/ethereal character of the wine. It's expressive and floral, varietal, and with the full chalky texture that is a distinct characteristic of Altamira. It's tasty, the tannins are polished and there is an almost salty sensation in the finish. (LG) Inner quote mark (10/2019)

92 points Vinous

Outer quote mark Bright ruby-red. Slightly reduced, inexpressive nose hints at black cherry and violet. At once dense and juicy, but quite backward and uncompromisingly dry, with its dark fruit and floral flavors refreshed by a strong element of mineral salts. This wine boasts serious dusty extract and a long chalky finish but really needs another year or two of cellaring. Just 10% new oak used here, vs. one-third for the La Consulta and Lunlunta bottlings. (ST) Inner quote mark (9/2019)

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! Located in the Southern part of the Uco Valley, Altamira has long been recognized as a premium location for grape growing, but it was only recently given its own GI (appellation). The sandy, alluvial soils with the caticata stones differentiate it from its neighbors. The Catena family has had vines there since the 1950s. It was only recently given its own designation, and it is part of the vanguard of the push for higher elevation sites that has occurred in the last decade. Located above 1000 meters in the Alluvial fan of the Tunuyan River, the elevation and the sandy soils bring an elegance to all the varietals of the region especially Malbec.

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By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/22/2021 | Send Email
Paraje Altamira is a special appellation in Mendoza. The sandy alluvial soils with the caticata stones differentiate it from its neighbors. It is an established region, the Catena family has had vines there since the 1950’s. It was only recently given it’s own designation and it is part of the vanguard of the push for higher elevation sites that has occurred in the last decade. What makes this wine so special is that push/pull of the old and the new. It is a wine that I can best describe in a push/pull way or this/but way. The harder it is to pin down, for me the more special the wine. This is obvious with the first sip of this wine. This is a special Malbec. There is a balance and composure to this wine that caught me off guard. This wine feels composed, like a great Bordeaux feels composed. Iti is not a multi varietal blend, it is Paraje Altamira Malbec. It has the ripe fruit that you expect but it is dark cherry. The fruit has concentration and intensity, but it is fresh and not heavy. It is floral but only on the back end with a light flourish. It has spice but it is very fine and it elegantly lingers on the finish. The tannins are polished and present, the wine is linear, it is not juicy and round. It has a lot of energy and drive but it is not edgy nor zippy. What I love about this wine it neither jumps out at you, nor does it force you to come to it. It is neither easy nor nerdy; it is friendly and sophisticated. This is a wine that doesn’t need anything but will accommodate a lot. I love this appellation series from Catena. It is an embodiment of how much Mendoza and Malbec has evolved in the last 10 years. Terroir is important. It is the reason why most of us love wine. Catena is showing us the facets of Mendoza and Malbec and the more I learn and understand the more that I love it.

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