98pts James Suckling
Perfumed and seductive nose of purple plums, blueberries, dried roses, violets, lemon zest, chocolate, truffles and cigar box. It’s full-bodied, yet so elegant and weightless. Seamless, finely knit tannins. Beautiful, lengthy finish. Try from 2024.
The 2020 Malbec Argentino Catena Zapata from Lunlunta and Paraje Altamira, Mendoza was made in roll fermenters and spent 18 months in used barrels. A vivid purple in the glass. The nose features ripe blackberry, plum, raisins, tobacco and unexpected violet notes before a secondary layer of aromas from the aging process and a whiff of strawberry. Creamy and smooth on the palate with an indulgent opening leading into a broad, voluminous flow, this is a complex, velvety wine in which the luxury is balanced by the freshness. A superb Mendoza Malbec.
94pts Tim Atkin
Argentino combines raw material from two sources - the Angélica Vineyard in Lunlunta and the Nicasia Vineyard in Paraje Altamira. It’s a seamlessly blended cuvée, all bramble, summer pudding and blackberry flavours, with a sheen of one-third new wood and the concentration and density to age further in bottle.
94pts Wine & Spirits - Best Malbec
The gothic label drawn by Rick Shaefer, depicts malbec’s journey to Argentina through four women, from its ancestral home in Cahors under the stewardship of Eleanor of Aquitaine to its new world home in the Catena family’s vineyards. This wine hails from a mass selection of ungrafted malbec vines planted during the 1920s in the Angelica vineyard; the original plant material arrived from France before the country’s 19th century bout with phylloxera. A second mass selection from these vines was planted in the Nicasia Vineyard in 1996. It ferments in new French oak, including 20 percent of the fruit as whole bunches, pointing up the purple-blue-black fruit complexity that grounds the wine while an airy whipped-coffee edge adds levity. Rich and intense but not heavy, this will reward years of cellaring, but it’s hard to feel too bad about opening a bottle now when it tastes this good.
The Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino shows a saturated dark violet color with ruby reflections; the nose offers cassis, blueberries and violets, along with a strong suggestion of soil tones. It combines density and sweetness on the one hand, with gripping, lightly saline flavors of mocha, dark berries, spice, and minerals; a palate-staining finish dominated by sweet black and blue fruits.
Pairs well with lamb chops, beef tenderloin, and goat cheese.