Highly individual Malbec and Chardonnay from Catena Zapata's Adrianna Vineyard

Highly individual Malbec and Chardonnay from Catena Zapata's Adrianna Vineyard

Highly individual Malbec and Chardonnay from Catena Zapata's Adrianna Vineyard

2021 White Stones Chardonnay, Adrianna Vineyard - £180 per 3 bottle case in bond
2021 White Bones Chardonnay, Adrianna Vineyard - £180 per 3 bottle case in bond

2020 Fortuna Terrae, Adrianna Vineyard - £185 per 3 bottle case in bond
2020 River, Adrianna Vineyard - £275 per 3 bottle case in bond
Following a fascinating tasting at our offices last week, we are pleased to offer a selection of highly-rated and highly individual Chardonnay and Malbec from Catena Zapata’s flagship Adrianna vineyard.
Nicolas Catena Zapata took the bold step of planting a vineyard in a location that no-one had previously considered, commenting that ‘There are many ways of discovering a new and great terroir. Luck plays a part, but luck is nothing if you don't know what you’re looking for; understanding what might constitute an extraordinary terroir is particularly challenging in these days of climate change.’  The progression of the Adrianna vineyard since its first vintages has been awe-inspiring – a phrase that is often overused but completely apt here.
The Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary (Tupungato) is responsible for all these wines. Lying at an altitude of 1,500 metres, the vines are able to ripen their fruit fully while retaining terrific freshness, in part due to the markedly cool nights. There is no lack of ripeness, yet the alcohol levels are never excessive and the balance struck is truly fascinating. Across the Adrianna Vineyard, soils vary – they are alluvial soils with gravel and limestone over a rocky limestone base. The part responsible for the Fortuna Terrae incorporates sand, giving this wine its distinctive aromatics and strikingly bright supple palate. Given the variation present, it may come as no surprise that the Catena family do not just grow Malbec and Chardonnay here, but also have Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Viognier planted in this unique site, which they have sub-divided into numerous plots.
This offer focuses on the two contrasting styles of Chardonnay produced, as well as two strikingly different Malbec. Please accept my apologies if I keep using the word ‘striking’, but this terroir brings out such fascinating contrasts; the racier style of White Stones with its taut sense of precision and refinement, and the White Bones with its expressive aromatics capturing a distinct spearmint note as well as hints of numerous aromatics seldom encountered in Chardonnay, all allied to its richer palate and distinctive mineral undertow. The two Malbec offered here are similarly poles apart, the Fortuna Terrae is scented, juicy, with such a sense of elegance – it also possesses a balance that recalls Bordeaux from yesteryear, and even had me thinking of Margaux as a style comparison. Without doubt this is an extraordinary wine. When tasted next to ‘River’ formerly known as River Stones, you immediately see the contrast as the latter has more brooding dark fruit, hints of spice and a different mineral vein that asserts to the finish. As with all Catena wines, this is impeccably made, a deeper, more powerful Malbec yet with the hallmark purity and elegance.
I have included Luis Gutiérrez’s remarkable set of notes below. I should add that he once commented that ‘words do not do justice to this beauty’ when discussing the Adrianna vineyard.

2021 White Stones Chardonnay, Adrianna Vineyard, Catena Zapata
£180 per 3 bottle case in bond

98 points, Luis Gutiérrez, robertparker.com

The 2021 White Stones Chardonnay is subtler and more elegant, a little closed with moderate ripeness and alcohol (12.5%) and a mineral palate with strong chalky sensations. It might be worth reproducing their explanation about this wine, one of the finest whites in Argentina: "The term 'white stones' refers to the composition of said rows of soil, with white oval stones covered by gravel. The vineyard 'Adrianna' is planted at an altitude of almost 1,500 meters above sea level, in the district of Gualtallary in Tupungato. The stony soil prevents deep root growth, providing optimum drainage. These soils are very poor in organic matter and contribute to support vines' permanent stress conditions. The cool nights allow for very slow ripening, optimal acid retention and low yields." This is serious and tasty. 7,300 bottles produced. Drink 2023-2031.

2021 White Bones Chardonnay, Adrianna Vineyard, Catena Zapata
£180 per 3 bottle case in bond

98+ points, Luis Gutiérrez, robertparker.com

The 2021 White Bones Chardonnay was harvested at two different points of ripeness and then blended into the final wine, which is subtler than the explosive 2020 I tasted next to it but with the same palette of aromas—thyme, rosemary, lavender, rockrose, white flowers, citrus, pine needles, incense, curry and spices—and the palate is seamless, mineral and with a chalky texture. It's brilliant and expresses the variety, vintage and soil perfectly, but today I give the edge to the 2020, which I think transcends the vintage. 6,240 bottles produced. Drink 2023-2031.

2020 Fortuna Terrae, Adrianna Vineyard, Catena Zapata
£185 per 3 bottle case in bond

98 points, Luis Gutiérrez, robertparker.com

The 2020 Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae shows exceptionally well. It's still young and juicy with some baby fat that should get rendered with some more time in bottle. It's a little lighter, and the tannins gave it grip and a chalky limestone sensation. But the wine is very expressive, with purity, clean and precise and not showing any signs of coming from a warmer year like 2020. It finishes with the telltale violets from the great Malbec grape coated by chalky minerality. This plot behaves well in warmer years like this one. It was bottled in October 2021. 5,400 bottles produced. Drink 2024-2032.

2020 River, Adrianna Vineyard, Catena Zapata
£275 per 3 bottle case in bond

97+ points, Luis Gutiérrez, robertparker.com

The 2019 was a hard act to follow, but the 2020 Adrianna Vineyard River kept its poise, though it showed a little riper and with grainier tannins that gave it some faint rusticity and earthiness. This is one of three Malbecs from the Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary, from a stony part of the vineyard, hence its name. The wine matured in large oak foudres, and the oak is still perceptible and might need a little more time to get integrated. This tends to be the most austere of the three bottlings, even in the warmer years like 2020, and it shows a little more fruit. It's juicy but beautifully textured with a spicy twist of curry that reminded me of some bottlings from El Enemigo in El Cepillo. It seems to open up slowly in the glass—the violet and berry aromas get complicated by some spice (curry?)—and the palate feels more layered. This is a superb expression of the austere wildness of Gualtallary. 5,700 bottles were filled in December 2021. Drink 2024-2032. 

Naturally we have limited volumes available so please let us know of your interest at your earliest opportunity.
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