Old Vines from the Catena Zapata Family Vineyards, Nicasia and Angélica. The origins of the vines, which we call “The Catena Cuttings”, is a prephyloxeric Massale Selection from the Angélica Vineyard. Harvest time varies depending on each lot's soil composition. Harvest time can vary by several weeks between one lot and another within the same vineyard. Angelica Vineyard: 3,018 ft (920 m). Lunlunta District, Maipú Region, Mendoza, Argentina. Adjacent to dry river bed. Light gravel, loam and clay. 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. Cool Nights and high day-night Thermal Amplitude: The summer of 2017 started out warm but then cooled off during the 2018 harvest months of February, March and April. This, in addition to the lower rainfall, gave rise to optimal balance in the fruit, with beautiful natural acidity, regional aromatic expression and smooth tannins. Early by Two Weeks: A warm summer followed by the cooling effect of the Pacific over the Andes during the months of February, March and April gave rise to a slightly earlier (by two weeks) harvest in 2018. A Dry Year: There was a decrease of about 100 mm (4 inches), about 30% less rain in every region. Nicasia Vineyard (Paraje Altamira, Southern Uco Valley): The frosts that affected the Uco Valley, West towards Tupungato and Gualtallary (Adrianna) and South towards Paraje Altamira, came strongly upon the Nicasia Vineyard. Fortunately, our precious Nicasia was saved by the anti-frost fires that were lit throughout the night. This year the black fruits make us think of the Black Wine of the Middle Ages, so dark and intense in the nose and palate. The day-night temperature amplitude was particularly marked during the harvest months. We are very happy with Nicasia 2018 Malbec. Angélica Vineyard (Lunlunta, Maipú): Our oldest vineyard, Angélica, planted in the 1930’s and named after Nicolás Catena Zapata’s mother, is one of our jewels and the home to the 135 cuttings Catena Population Malbec selection. A constant breeze coming from the adjacent river bed created pure harmony for this classic vintage. Yet again, we had multiple offers to sell the land for condominium development (the land is fairly close to Mendoza City) and we said no, never! Like we always do.
“El Año Mendocino,” the Mendoza Year we call it. After a small cool vintage 2017, which we call “El Año Bordelés” (the Bordeaux Year) and a small, very cool and rainy year in 2016 “El Año Bourguignon” (the Burgundian year), we finally got a vintage that is classically Mendozan: dry, cool, sunny and with moderate yields in every region from the lowest to the highest altitudes.
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 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 18 months.