Nose

The nose offers ripe apple and pear fruit flavors with light floral notes and hints of spice and toasted bread.

Palate

The palate shows ripe white stone fruit flavors with citrus tones and a stony, mineral character. The finish in long and complex with refreshing bright, crisp acidity.

Growing Conditions

100% Chardonnay sourced from the sandy soil of Lot 1 in the Adrianna vineyard. The 2002 growing season saw slightly cooler conditions than 2002, with average temperatures of 18.5° C and night time lows averaging 10.1° C. These cooler conditions meant a slow, gradual close to the ripening process resulting in heightened complexity in the Chardonnay grapes. In addition to ripe pear and apple fruit flavors, notes of honey, fig, citrus and mineral can be found in the aromas and flavors. The excellent natural acidity lends a crisp edge to the finish. This vintage should be enjoyed in 4 to 5 years and will continue to improve over the following 10 years. The 2003 harvest in the high altitude wine country of Mendoza, Argentina was of exceptional quality and perhaps even surpassing the historic 2002 vintage. The winter of 2002 was cold and dry in the Mendoza valley. The Andes, however, experienced a great deal of snow in the mountain heights. While offering an excellent ski season, this also assured an abundant amount of irrigation water for the upcoming growing season. Spring arrived with moderate to warm temperatures and dry conditions, with just a few rains during the second week of October. This climatic environment allowed for a good bud break, flowering, and set. The remainder of Spring was characterized by warm, sunny conditions resulting in an excellent start to the growing season. Summer began with dry and warmer than usual temperatures in the month of January. While some areas and vineyards experienced sunburn from the increased heat, carefully managed irrigation allowed for the Catena Zapata vineyards to avoid damage. February, witch is statistically the month with the most precipitation, was very sunny and unusually dry. While the tendency for greater temperatures continued, it was accompanied by the onset of colder nighttime conditions. This increase in thermal amplitude meant that the vines expended less energy than usual at night, energy which was then available to be used in the ripening process. While the warmer temperatures threatened a rapid accumulation of sugars, careful use of irrigation slowed this process and ensured an even maturation. The weather conditions in the all important ripening months of March and April continued dry with a marked reduction in maximum temperatures. This created the ideal environment to finish the maturation cycle slowly and gradually. The absence of climatic dangers allowed the fruit to enjoy an exceptionally long hang time, resulting in harvest at an optimum level of ripeness. These climatic conditions were also constant throughout the entire region of Mendoza. All varietals in each of the different vineyards and microclimates offered their typically unique profile of flavors and aromas. When implementing the winemaking concept of microclimate blending, in which varietal lots from different microclimates are blended to create a more complex wine, the 2003 vintage offers a wide array of excellent blending components.

Harvest

The Chardonnay grapes showed excellent varietal character, with ripe fruit flavors ranging from tropical to pear and citrus, depending on the area. All microclimates showed great balance and bright, crisp acidity. Harvest occurred on average one week earlier than usual.

Winemaking

Total Acidity: 5.95 grams/liter

Appearance

The 2003 Catena Alta Chardonnay presents a light greenish-yellow color.