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Bodega Catena Zapata

Bodega Catena Zapata is a family-owned winery located in Mendoza, Argentina.

Bodega Catena Zapata has pioneered modern vinification techniques and high altitude viticulture in Mendoza, helping to bring Argentine wines, particularly those made with the Malbec grape, worldwide and critical recognition.


Nicola Catena arrived in Mendoza, Argentina from the Marche region of Italy in 1898, and planted his first Malbec vineyard in 1902. His son Domingo then grew the business until the Catena family became one of the largest vineyard holders in Mendoza. He did so while overcoming challenges brought on by the many crises of the Argentine economy.

The business was transformed by Domingos son, NicolasRose, Anthony, Interview with Nicolas Catena, Decanter man of the year 2009, Decanter.com, March 27, 2009., who holds a doctorate degree in economics. In 1980 he came to the United States as a visiting professor at University of California, Berkeley. During his time in the San Francisco Bay Area, he was inspired by the recent victories that California wines had seen in competition with those of Europe. He visited neighboring Napa Valley, which was at that time beginning to emerge as a world-class wine region, and he began to wonder if Mendoza could compete on an international scale as well.

Upon returning to Argentina, Nicolas was the first to believe that Argentina could produce a wine that could compete on an international stage. He was the first to introduce modern European winemaking and viticultural techniques to Argentina, including small French oak barrels, drip irrigation, low yielding French Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon cuttings, extremely low yields and plant-by-plant selection.

Nicolas embarked on a series of initiatives to determine the best growing regions of Mendoza. He planted at a variety of elevations, studying the effects of altitude on growing conditions. In 1992 he was the first to plant a vineyard Adrianna - as high as 5,000 feet elevation, unheard of at this time.

Nicolas also made the first and only Mendoza Malbec vine cutting selection, isolating the best genetic material from his familys 70 year-old Angelica vineyard. Since 1994, he has experimented with these cuttings to select the best seven vines for further planting. These Catena Cuttings are the basis for the Catena familys high altitude Malbec vineyards.

Nicolas was the first to produce a world class 100% Malbec from Argentina, the 1996 Catena Alta Malbec which received 94 points from Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate,

Nicolas breakthrough wine was the Nicolas Catena Zapata. It was the first Argentine wine to become accepted internationally as an "icon" wine that could be compared with the best of the world. The 1997 vintage was released in 2000 through a series of blind tastings held in the USA and Europe where it was compared to Chateau Latour, Haut Brion, Solaia, Caymus and Opus One. The Nicolas Catena Zapata 1997 came in either first or second in every tasting. At that time there were no other such wines from Argentina. With the 2004 vintage, the Nicolas Catena Zapata became the first Argentine wine to receive 98+ points from Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate.

Laura Catena, Nicolas daughter, is President of Bodega Catena Zapata. Having grown up in Mendoza, she was then educated at Harvard and Stanford Universities as a biologist and physician. She practices medicine part time at the University of California San Francisco, and divides her time between California and Mendoza. Laura uses her academic training to run Bodega Catena Zapatas Research & Development program. Together with a team of young, innovative winemakers and viticulturalists, Laura is constantly delving deeper into the terroir of Mendoza. Nicolas & Laura oversee all of the final blends for the winery, ensuring that each and every one reflects the Catena family terroir.

The Winery

Bodega Catena Zapatas winery is located in Mendoza, in the sub appellation of Agrelo. The winery structure, which recalls a pyramid, is distinguished by its striking design, based on Mayan architecture and meant to evoke the unique New World terroir of Mendoza.

Catena Family Estate Vineyards

Angelica Vineyard

Located at 860m (2850') elevation in the Lunlunta district of the Maipu region. This 70 year-old Malbec vineyard is the mother property for the Catena Malbec vine cutting selection which is at the heart of the familys Malbec program.

La Piramide Vineyard

Located at 940m elevation in the Agrelo district of the Lujan de Cuyo region. This 25 year-old vineyard is at the heart of Catena Zapatas Cabernet Sauvignon program, providing the core fruit for the icon wine Nicolas Catena Zapata.

Domingo Vineyard

Located at 1,130m elevation in the Villa Bastias district of the Tupungato region. This cool climate vineyard provides intensely aromatic and elegant Cabernet Sauvignon for the Catena Alta & Nicolas Catena Zapata.

Nicasia Vineyard

Located at 1,180m elevation in the Altamira district of the San Carlos region. This far southerly vineyard has extremely cool nights and produces rich, voluptuous Malbecs with racy acidity. Catena Alta and Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard Malbec.

Adrianna Vineyard

Located at 1,500m elevation in the Gualtallary district of the Tupungato region, this is the highest Malbec vineyard in all of Mendoza. The cool climate and extremely intense sunlight produce highly concentrated, age-worthy Malbecs: Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino and Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Malbec


Bodega Catena Zapata exports three lines of wine:

Catena Zapata

# Nicolas Catena Zapata

# Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino

# Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Malbec

# Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard Malbec

Catena Alta

# Catena Alta Cabernet Sauvignon

# Catena Alta Chardonnay

# Catena Alta Malbec


# Catena Cabernet Sauvignon

# Catena Chardonnay

# Catena Malbec

Bodega Catena Zapata offers four lines for sale exclusively in Argentina:

Catena Zapata Estiba Reservada

Angelica Zapata

D.V. Catena

Saint Felicien


Bodega Catena Zapatas wines have been extensively reviewed by Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate. Nicolas Catena was named Decanter Magazines 2009 Man of the YearLechmere, Adam, Nicolas Catena honoured as Decanter Man of the Year, Decanter.com, September 18, 2009..

External links


Asimov, Eric, A Master of Wine Takes a Fresh Look, The New York Times, November 1, 2006.

Teague, Lettie The Latest From Argentina: Malbecs from Argentina's Mendoza Region, Food & Wine, May 2004.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bodega Catena Zapata

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