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. Soil: Very shallow loamy topsoil with surface gravel and gravelly (large stones) dry river bed subsoil - optimal drainage. Plant selection: Catena Cuttings malbec selection.
The wines stand out for their high natural acidity, freshness and concentration. There is perfect balance of acidity and alcohol; we predict an extraordinary ageing potential.
2014 was the coolest harvest year since 2001. It was a year with pronounced regional contrasts. Abundant snowmelt (the Andes could be seen covered in snow throughout most of the harvest season) would have made this a very large harvest, except that everything slowed down with the cool weather in February, March and April, and the severe September frost. The frost affected predominantly Eastern and Northern Mendoza and San Juan, but also some parts of the Uco Valley and Lujan de Cuyo. In the end, the harvest was delayed by one to two weeks and overall the yields were average.
A great achievement for this year was the certification of the Argentina Sustainability Protocol by Bodegas de Argentina. The project started four years ago when Laura Catena came back from California with the idea to apply sustainable practices in the Catena Vineyards. Vineyard manager Luis Reginato teamed up with the Catena Institute of Wine to adapt the California protocol to Mendoza.
Many of the practices were already endemic to our Catena culture of green winegrowing, but having a formal process helped us take advantage of sustainability at all levels of our family winery, from the vineyards to the winery to human resources.
The beneficial effects of using green forage between rows, natural compost and judicious water management convinced us to attempt a certification process for our whole wine region. We brought our protocol to Bodegas de Argentina and worked with the Catena Institute, the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo and the INV (National Viticulture Institute) to provide a certifiable protocol for the region, which was formally approved in November of 2013. The protocol has a strong humanistic approach, encouraging the provision of social benefits for employees and child-care and nutrition for the families of seasonal workers.
NICASIA VINEYARD, Altamira, Uco Valley, Mendoza, 3593 ft elevation
After two years of in-depth study of the Altamira district, analyzing climate, geology, soils and historical background, we were able to receive formal approval for the use of the Paraje Altamira appellation on labels. This work had to be done because individuals had trademarked the name and were not allowing the area's other rightful vineyard owners to use the Altamira denomination. We are pleased that the INV (our National Viticulture Institute) carefully reviewed the request and granted us and the other growers of Altamira the right to use this historical Appellation. Nicolas Catena is particularly pleased because his father Domingo Catena was very fond of the Altamira Malbec for its dark color and violet aromatics. Our Nicasia Vineyard did not experience any frost or hail damage and the quality was remarkably even throughout the vineyard. We continue to find great potential for both Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon in the shallow, well-drained soils of the Nicasia Vineyard.
100% whole cluster and 90% whole berry fruit is hand-
loaded into 2000-5000 liter new French oak foudres for
a 100% barrel fermentation for a period of 17 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, followed by 24 months
of aging in bottle before release.