The nose is full of citric and white stone fruit aromas laced with honey and toast.
The wine is soft and round on the palate, with great harmony and equilibrium between the rich fruit and the light notes of vanilla and spice. Catena Alta Chardonnay will only be made in exceptional vintage years.
100% Chardonnay sourced from the sandy soil of Lot 1 in the Adrianna vineyard, the first vintage to incorporate this unique high altitude vineyard site. The 1999 growing season in Adrianna vineyard presented the typically cool temperatures of this microclimate. Average temperatures for the month prior to ripening were only 18.1° C with very cool nights dropping on average to 11.7° C. These cooler temperatures allowed the Chardonnay grapes to develop ripe pear fruit flavors with delicate citrus and floral tones, strong mineral notes and excellent natural acidity. This vintage can be enjoyed now and will continue to improve over the next 5 to 7 years. The winter of 1998, after a rather rainy autumn, was dry and temperate. There were not many frosts and so Spring arrived in a dry and moderate atmosphere, with some large temperature variations. Despite the dry conditions, there were some late frost dangers due to the wide thermal amplitude between daytime highs and nighttime lows. In the Catena vineyards, any potential damage to the vines was avoided through the use of heaters in the vineyards. Summer began with warm and dry weather conditions, demanding the use of irrigation from the underground aquifers. The rest of the summer season offered ideal conditions for the grapes to mature gradually and completely.
The large difference between daytime highs and nighttime lows in the high altitude vineyards of the Andean foothills give the grapes the opportunity to fully develop all elements of color and aroma, as well as ensuring the maturity of ripe sweet tannins in the reds and an excellent sugar/acid balance in the whites. The harvest began in mid-March and lasted through the second week of April. Dry and moderate conditions allowed for Catena's vineyard management team to select the exact moment of optimum ripeness for the harvest of all the fruit. The Chardonnays of Tupungato, the Cabernets of Agrelo and the Malbecs of Lunlunta all showed excellent development and full maturity.
The grapes for Catena Alta Chardonnay come from a select block of Adrianna vineyard, Catena's premier Chardonnay vineyard. At 1,500m (5,000') elevation, the Adrianna vineyard experiences an even greater thermal amplitude than the La Pirámide vineyard, with very cool nights during ripening. The Catena Alta block has historically provided the most balanced and uniform yields. These carefully chosen vines undergo a detailed thinning process aimed at leaving only select, isolated clusters. Picked in the cool, early morning hours, the grapes for Catena Alta Chardonnay are whole cluster pressed. Total Acidity: 6.25 grams/liter
The juice is all barrel fermented, and the wine spends a total of 14 months in 100% new François Fréres French oak. The result is a wine full of fresh fruit, with the added nuances of malolactic and oak flavors.
The 1999 Catena Alta Chardonnay has an intense golden yellow color with green tones.