It is always wonderful to catch up with Laura Catena in London to taste through her winery’s fantastic benchmark Argentinean wines. The UK remains one of the Catena’s strongest markets according to Laura, with sales growing both on the high quality end and also on the more affordable value end of the Catena brand range.
But certainly the wineries reputation has come a long way since Laura attended the 1995 Fine Wine Experience in the United States representing the first South American brand to be invited to show their wines at this prestigious tasting event.
Today, the wines remain some of the most respected Argentinean wine brands on the global market with their single vineyard Chardonnays and Malbecs true quality leaders. I joined Laura for another superb London tasting, this time at the excellent Michelin starred Hide restaurant in Piccadilly, where Ollie Dabbous matched courses for a stunning array of Catena wines.
The artistry of Ollie Dabbous at Hide.
Catena Adrianna Vineyard White Stones Vino de Parcela Chardonnay 2015, 13 Abv.
5000ft elevation of the Adriana Vineyard. Dusty lifted aromatic profile with unique notes of dried grass, spearmint, wet pebbles and crushed limestone underpinned by white grapefruit and citrus notes. The palate is lively and energetic packed full of picante lime cordial, freshly squeezed tangerine juice and sleek dry bitter lemon zest. Lovely mineral grip lingers on the long finish. Very grown up style with a real gout de Terroir. Give this wine time in bottle.
(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Catena Adrianna Vineyard White Bones Vino de Parcela Chardonnay 2015, 13 Abv.
5000ft elevation of the Adriana Vineyard. Similar to the White Stones Cuvee but with deeper, richer minerality of Wet chalk, limestone, cassis leaf, black currant reduction and subtle cut grass and crushed mint leaf complexity. Palate texture is full and round showing exceptional freshness but impressive gravitas and concentration while retaining its true Terroir feel and mineral restraint. The finish is exotic and long, teasing the palate with clementine pastilles, lemon cordial and orange peel zest. Very fine indeed.
(Wine Safari Score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Catena Alta Malbec 2015, 13.5 Abv.
Blend of 5 parcels from cuttings from the same parcels but grown on different souls. The nose is very culinary in style, full of dusty chocolate, mocha, cocoa, black currant, brûléed cedar spice and dusty crushed stones. Very Bordeaux’esque in an exotic kind of style, the palate is luxurious and sleek but also tantalisingly fresh, crunchy and pure fruited with a fine cedar and graphite mineral frame and a long, lush sappy finish of bramble berries, black berry confit and damson plum. Wonderful classism and restraint.
(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Nicolas Catena Zapata 2013, 13.5 Abv.
Beautifully precise fragrant nose brimming with the 70+ percent Cabernet Sauvignon notes of dried violets, tart black cherry, savoury wet tobacco, cassis and sappy spice. Very direct and pure fruited with a fine salinity that melts into fine mineral notes of graphite, black currant pastille and creamy, oak spice. Tannins are powdery and fine grained, the acidity bright and potent. A very polished, suave expression with real intensity. Still so very youthful at 5+ years old.
(Wine Safari Score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Catena Zapata Malbec Nicasia Vineyard La Consulta 2014, Mendoza, 14 Abv.
A beautifully fashioned hedonistic red with great subtlety, delicacy, violet perfume and red cherry and piquant wood spice intensity. All finely integrated and seamless, coating the palate with great lush intensity, creamy tannins, concentrated sappy sweet black and red berry fruits and fabulously juicy acidity. Such harmony and balance with a delicious coffee bean, cocoa and mocha finish. Dreamy and very pretty.
(Wine Safari Score: 97/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Catena Zapata Argentino Malbec 2013, Mendoza, 14 Abv.
Another big, intense, deliciously opulent expression with lifted layers of purple flowers, violets, cherry blossom and pithy crushed blueberries. Quite immediate and upfront, this wine is not only hedonistic, opulent and showy but ultra suave, finely textured, delicately mineral finishing with satin soft black berry confit and graphite spice. A very classy, distinguished expression that is a thoroughly seductive and profound picture of Malbec. Delicious.
(Wine Safari Score: 96+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Catena Zapata Argentino Malbec 2015, Mendoza, 14 Abv. (En Magnum)
A superbly opulent and expressive red that after one sniff leaves you in no doubt that this is another deliciously hedonistic expression. Nose bursts with a measured intensity of creamy brûléed black berry, black cherry pastille and a touch of blue berry crumble with a dusting of mocha choc spice. This vintage offers up extra layers of textured depth and richness with an opulent glycerol mouthfeel, sweet plump tannins and well integrated acids.
(Wine Safari Score: 97+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
The Catena wines are distributed by Bibendum / Walker Wodehouse in the UK market.