“A tricky vintage for many, this cool vintage ended superbly here, with the Malbec harvested two weeks later than usual. A stunning savoury nose mingles with florality, sweet dark fruits and spices. A distinct peppery note accompanies layers of rich, ripe black and blue fruits on the palate, with a subtle but incredible intensity. The sweetness of the fruits is perfectly balanced by the savoury, mineral-drenched mid-palate, and given structure by firm, chalky and beautifully chiselled tannins, with a perfect amount of acidity to provide lift. Sublime.”
Each year the International Wine Report compiles a list of their top 100 wines from around the globe representing “the very best and most exciting wines we have tasted.” This year, the list includes wines from 15 different countries, diverse in styles and budgets. Included on the list:
#34 CATENA ZAPATA Nicolás Catena Zapata 2011
Bright ruby. Aromas of cassis, black cherry, minerals, violet and bitter chocolate show very good lift but also a youthfully serious medicinal aspect. Densely packed, fresh and broad but unforthcoming today, showing little in the way of easy sweetness. The medicinal black cherry flavors come across as distinctly cool owing to complicating notes of mint, licorice and herbs. Finishes with substantial dusty tannins that will require patience.
This esteemed wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet and 20% Malbec that head winemaker Alejandro Vigil aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak and then for an additional 24 months in the bottle. The wine was sourced from high elevation vineyards (La Piramide, Domingo, Adrianna and Nicasia) and some of the choicest fruit selected by the winemaker. The resultant wine is completely stunning. There are rich aromas of anise, crème de cassis, coffee grounds, violets, rose petals and suggestions of leather. On the palate the wine brings dense flavors reminiscent of creme de cassis, blueberry pie, anise, mocha, spicebox, sandalwood and a graphite edge. Even more expressive and irresistible after a one hour decant, the silky texture of this red blend is bordering ethereal. This is every bit as good as the absolutely exceptional 2010, showing similar range and viscosity. There is little doubt this excellent blend will age gracefully for decades, but is completely impossible to resist at this juncture.
“Typical and gorgeous Malbec aromas of boysenberries, blueberries and raspberries with delicate scents of rose petals. A velvety texture and fine grained tannins support layers of succulent flavours such as dark cherries, flowers, fresh spices, coffee, minerals and some tones of well-judged oak. A serious wine for many years.”
“Dry oak, black fruit and floral notes suggestive of violet are the aromas that set off this tannic, clamping, deeply structured Malbec. Flavors of mocha, maple, savory blackberry and roasted plum end with a mix of creaminess and strapping tannins. Drink through 2025.”
“First launched with the 1997 vintage, this is Catena’s most ambitious red blend. It’s based on 80 percent cabernet sauvignon grown in La Pirámide, the vineyard surrounding the Mayan pyramid-shaped winery, in Agrelo; the rest is malbec from high-altitude vineyards in the Uco Valley. Generous in spice scents, with an accent on black pepper and with sweet, ripe fruit flavors supported by refined tannins. Graceful now, it will gain complexity with five years or more in the cellar.”
“Consistently among the best red blends in Argentina, and a wine that ages brilliantly, this cuvée includes only 25% Malbec this year, partly because the Agrelo Cabernet was so good in 2012…. it’s a finely balanced wine that combines the two grapes to perfection, with notes of graphite, cassis, blueberry and subtle oak underpinned by plenty of structure and concentration.”