The approachable 2017 Nicolás Catena Zapata has a little more Cabernet Franc in the blend, even if the majority is Cabernet Sauvignon and there is some Malbec. In 2017, they sourced Cabernet Sauvignon from Altamira and Gualtallary, and it fermented together with the juice of the Cabernet Franc. It has a touch of ripeness in the nose but without excess; it's balsamic, with the Cabernet dominating the aromatics. The palate comes through as really balanced and perhaps a little lighter. It has very fine tannins and a clean, focused finish. It was bottled in November 2018. Catena is one of the quality leaders in Argentina and it's also a large winery, so they combine quality and quantity. Furthermore, they are one of the pioneers: They were the first to plant vineyards in Gualtallary, which is nowadays considered one of the highest potential zones in the country, but they were deemed crazy when they planted there. The wines are phenomenal, true to their place and vintage, and the accompanying notes merit reading to see what each of their wines is. Comparing 2016 and 2017, it seems like 2017 was better in Altamira and 2016 was a great success in Gualtallary, but there's a lot more information on each wine. They also have a new range of non-sulfur wines called La Marchigiana.
Bright medium ruby. Vibrant aromas of blueberry, violet, licorice, spices and bitter chocolate; this really stands out among Catena's 2017 reds for its floral character. Juicy and tightly wound but not a bit hard, communicating a distinctly primary quality to its densely packed flavors of crushed black fruits, violet, bitter chocolate and minerals. Boasts terrific energy and penetrating grip for this special bottling, finishing dense and extremely long but not at all heavy, with serious but perfectly buffered tannins saturating the tongue and teeth. This really fills the olfactories! But lay this beauty down and forget about it for three or four years. My sample retained its verve for many days in the recorked bottle.
Sweet tobacco, walnuts, blackberries and dried flowers on the nose. Full body, yet ultra-fine tannins and a super long finish. Superb finesse and polish. Drink after 2023, but already fabulous.
Ready 2014 - 2026
Prices shown in bond
Young 2022 - 2038
Ready 2018 - 2029