Adrianna Vineyard: 4,757 ft (1,450 m). Gualtallary District, Tupungato Region, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina. Alluvial, gravelly with limestone deposits in the topsoil. Malbec. Plant selection: Catena Cuttings malbec selection. Nicasia Vineyard: 3,593 ft (1,095 m). Altamira in La Consulta District, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina. Very shallow loamy topsoil with surface gravel and gravelly (large stones) dry river bed subsoil - optimal drainage. Malbec. Plant selection: Catena Cuttings malbec selection. After three years of low yields, 2013 brought us an average crop size. The Mendoza growers are pleased. Temperatures were generally cooler throughout summer and especially in early Autumn, leading to unusually high natural acidity (lower pH's) and relatively low sugar/alcohol levels - the perfect balance. Nights were cooler than average and harvest happened between 7 and 10 days later than usual, giving us bright aromatics in addition to the hang-time related velvetiness in the tannins. We've been concerned over the lower than average amount of snow in the Andes and in the underground aquifers over the last two years. Although this season, there was more snow than last, we wonder if this is related to climate change. The Catena Institute of Wine (our research branch) is preparing a multidisciplinary task force to address this topic with other wineries in Mendoza. Fortunately there were additional rains in spring which helped combat the dryness and gave us nice canopies and an optimal fruit set. Increased rain is also part of the climate change gurus' predictions. ADRIANNA VINEYARD: Chardonnay, Malbec and Cabernet Franc - Gualtallary, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, 4757 ft elevation Adrianna is another jewel. As this vineyard enters its third decade, and we understand each row and each plant better, we marvel at the diversity of flavors and elegance of the fruit coming from this vineyard. It is hard to believe that thirty years ago no one thought that Malbec would ripen at 5,000 feet elevation. In Adrianna, which most years classifies as Zone I Winkler (Burgundy temperatures) we see the combined effect of altitude and sunlight. Because of the high altitude sunlight, we are able to ripen varieties such as Malbec and Cabernet, which wouldn't normally ripen in such a cool climate. NICASIA VINEYARD: Malbec - Altamira, Uco Valley, Mendoza, 3593 ft elevation The Nicasia Vineyard, located in Altamira in La Consulta is one of the Jewels of the Catena Zapata family. There was no hail or frost this year. The grapes had the usual perfect balance between acidity and sugar, and the velvetiness that characterizes the tannins of the Nicasia Malbecs.
The 2013 harvest is characterized by optimal fruit set and normal yields. Overall cooler climate and cooler nights give us wines with bright acidity and aromatics, and the velvety tannins that come from a longer hang-time. Although these wines will have the necessary acidity and tannins to age, it might be hard for many to refrain from their immediate appeal.
Unfined and unfiltered
20% whole cluster and 80% whole berry fruit is hand-loaded into 225-500 liter new French oak barrels for a 100% barrel fermentation for a period of 30 - 32 days, allowing seamless oak integration. The fermentation temperature is kept low, extracting intense aromas, and the cap management is done by hand to ensure soft, gentle flavors and tannin extraction. Wild yeasts. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in barrel leaves considerable lees and sediment.
The wine is aged in French oak barrels for 24 months. Adrianna Malbec component is co- fermented with Viognier and Nicasia Malbec component is co- fermented with Cabernet Franc.