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Bodega Catena Zapata

Catena Zapata Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Laura Catena last year for an article that charted the research she's doing at the Catena Institute in studying the effects of high elevation on indigenous varieties and on international varieties like Cabernet. Of course, it's great fun to taste a wine like this after such a rousing discussion—her 2015 High Mountain Vines Cabernet Sauvignon is opaque with a violet rim and awash in aromas of damson plum, blackberry, espresso and dark chocolate. In the mouth it's full, round and viscous with that classic finish that we see in Argentine Cabs—black pepper, bell pepper, and cedar. Bodega Catena Zapata 9.0 Points  ...

Santa Julia Tintillo Malbec-Bonarda 2016

Santa Julia Tintillo Malbec-Bonarda 2016

The 2016 Santa Julia Tintillo, a blend of both Malbec and Bonarda is awash in plums, black cherries, cedar and bay leaf. For those of you who have yet to try Bonarda, it's safe to say that this Piedmontese grape is as happy-go-lucky as the average golden retriever. Certainly, this amiable bottle is crammed with more than enough plump, ripe fruit and soft tannins to make it an ideal wine for a summer barbecue or entertaining. Sample Bodega Santa Julia 8.9 Points...

Seed Red Wine 2015

Seed Red Wine 2015

May 28, 2017—Bottle No. 0226 of a 120 case lot from this ultra-boutique winery, Seed. I first tasted this bottling six months ago, when it was still fairly closed—the profile remains unchanged—a heady melange of singed blueberries, black currants, sandalwood, and violets. It has the kind of lightness to it that one would expect from a Nuits St. Georges, not Mendoza. As such, this Malbec Cabernet blend is gracefully bound in fine, supple tannins, with a mineral thread twining bay leaf and green peppercorn. Perfection. 9.5 Points January 13, 2017—Generous and layered aromas of smoky boysenberries, black currant, plum, graphite, dark chocolate shavings, and violets fill the bowl of the glass. The 2015 Seed Red Wine is a poignant blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Franc. As with the Seed Malbec, the Red Wine blend spends 16 months in new French Oak. 2015 proved to be yet another a cool vintage in Mendoza, gracing this wine with stunning purity and vivid freshness. An understory of fine tannins lends structure to a core of juicy black fruit that gradually subsides to a finish tinged in gravelly minerality, bay leaf, and green peppercorn. 13.7% ABV| Sample As I always mention with...

Bodega Catena Zapata Chardonnay High Mountain Vines 2015

Bodega Catena Zapata Chardonnay High Mountain Vines 2015

Catena's High Mountain Vines Chardonnay is sourced from three vineyard sites, ranging from 3,100-4,757' in altitude, hence the name. The soils are predominantly gravelly or stony, and all of these sites are cool climate—these factors are reflected in the profile of this fresh and restrained Argentine Chard. Acacia honey, lemon blossom, pear and citrus round out the nose. In the mouth, it’s balanced and lean with slightly underripe white peach at the core and and a lithe saline-mineral flourish on the finish. 13.5% ABV | Sample Bodega Catena Zapata 9.0 Points...

Seed Malbec 2015

Seed Malbec 2015

Beautifully delineated, the 2015 Seed Malbec is a small lot single-vineyard wine that is aged for 16 months in new French oak and, I’m happy to report, has a long life ahead of it. At this stage in its development, the nose is quite primary and is heavily laden in fresh blackberries, plums, and macerated strawberries rendered more complex by attractive not<span class="text_exposed_show">es of sweet tobacco, bitter chocolate, iron ore, and violets. Winemaker, Giuseppe Franceschini’s training in the Friuli region of Northern Italy has gifted him with a light touch, and that sensibility translates in his reds. Fresh and elegant, there is a mounting energy in this wine, with a thread of acidity adding lift to well-structured tannins. Minerality makes its presence known on the finish, emerging through layered black fruit, spice, wild fennel, and sandalwood. 14.0% ABV | Sample In the spirit of disclosure, I should mention that I handle the social media for this winery, I’ve been working with Seed’s team since February of this year—the winery owner’s have a fantastic story, a tale of risk, adventure and optimism, I’ve so enjoyed working with them. To learn more, visit: Seed Wine 9.3 Points...

Dr. Laura Catena

Research and Resilience at High Altitude

What one Argentine winery is doing to combat climate change. Climate change is everywhere, according to Dr. Laura Catena, and tackling these problems is a race, “We need to look at life at all levels, using science to preserve nature and culture, and we don’t have much time.” I recently had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Catena about what she and her team at the Catena Institute for Wine are doing to mitigate the effects of climate change. “A lot of what we’re doing now has to do with pruning and cover crops, but in the years ahead that won’t be enough.” Another strategy involves testing different clonal selections. In 1995, Catena and her team planted the French Malbec clone, Côt Noir in their La Pirámide Vineyard next to vines sourced from their historic 87-year-old Angélica vineyard. By 2003, they were able to confirm that the characteristics of the French clone differed greatly from Argentine Malbec selections. “Lamarck said that as the giraffe’s neck got longer, its offspring would also inherit a longer neck,” she explained. What Catena is referring to is the work of French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who proposed that organisms, both flora and fauna, pass on traits acquired during their lifetime to...

Bodega Catena Zapata Cabernet Sauvignon High Mountain Vines 2014

Bodega Catena Zapata Cabernet Sauvignon High Mountain Vines 2014

Bodega Catena Zapata Cabernet Sauvignon High Mountain Vines 2014" width="200" height="200" /></a>I received a selection of Catena wines following an interview with Dr. Laura Catena (to her credit, she's an amazing person and a part time ER doc). Her 2014 High Mountain Vines Cabernet displays glorious aromas of black currant, anise, mocha, exotic spice, and cedar. Medium weight, elevation has endowed this Argentine Cab with elegance and silkiness stitched against a backdrop of fine tannins and high acidity. It’s fresh and intense with a finish that flirts with saline-tipped minerality. 13.5% ABV | Sample Bodega Catena Zapata 9.1 Points...

Tony Hartl & Giuseppe Franceschini

White before Red: An Interview with Winemaker Giuseppe Franceschini

Born in Padua, winemaker Giuseppe Franceschini likes to think of himself as a gypsy. He studied enology at the University of Udine, following graduation, his wanderlust and curiosity led him to Veneto, Friuli, Sicily, Mendoza and most recently, Slovenia. From these experiences, Giuseppe absorbed a lifetime of regional winemaking styles, each with unique challenges and rewards that combine to make him one of the most creative, passionate winemakers on the planet. Over the years he’s racked up an impressive trove of gold medals, some of which include the Concours Mundial de Bruxelles for his work at wineries in Mendoza and Italy. His 2007 Bacan Malbec was recognized as one of the top 60 wines of Argentina from Austral Spectator Wine Guide, and his 2013 La Giostra del Vino Saltimbanco Pinot Noir scored 93 points from the Wine Advocate, and his Cabernet Sauvignon from Bodega Caelum scored 94 points from Guia Penin. So it’s no surprise that he’s just been awarded a gold medal for the 2014 Seed Malbec from The Drinks Business’ prestigious 2016 Global Malbec Masters competition. Giuseppe’s focus on white wines early in his winemaking career has enabled him to bring a sense of elegance and nuance to his reds—something he refers...

Alamos Torrontés 2015

Alamos Torrontés 2015

So lets just get this out of the way right now, Torrontés has to be one of my least favorite varieties. I can't get past the star gazer lilly and chamomile aromas and flavors, reminding me why I'm not a fan of ultra-feminine, floral perfumes. Back to the Alamos 2015—it displays good varietal character, that floral note is quite prominent, along with rather more subdued layers of orange pastille and candied grapefruit. Grown in the Salta region, high elevation lends bright acidity to cut through this wine's weight. 13.0% ABV 1.1 | RS Sample Alamos Winery 8.8 Points...

Bodega Septima Malbec 2014

Bodega Septima Malbec 2014

Better on the second day, as the Septima 2014 Malbec felt tight on opening. Today, more generous notes of warm blackberries at peak ripeness, plums, boysenberries, dried violets and black licorice. The attack shows tart, high acidity, this wine begs to be paired with a grilled, well-marbled steak. The tannins linger under the acidity, a background note along with a sturdy core of black fruit. A touch herbal on the finish, classic for Malbec from Mendoza. Nice for its price. 14.0% ABV | Sample Bodega Septima 8.6 Points...