A Blend of Four Vineyards - vineyards are divided into lots that are harvested at different times:
Agrelo: (3,117 ft (950 m) elevation. Citrus and peach fruit flavors.
Villa Bastías: 3,675 ft (1,120 m) elevation. Stone fruit aromas and a rich texture.
Gualtallary: 4,757 ft (1,450 m) elevation. Lively floral notes, strong mineral character and cool climate bright acidity.
El Cepillo: 3,576 ft (1,090 m) elevation. Aluvial origin. Loam-sandy soil with thick calcareous layers and rounded rocks on the bottom.
But as the summer approached and the rains continued, we feared another 1998, a year when three weeks of rain brought botrytis in the midst of a warm summer. The extremely cool summer weather ended up saving us in two very specific ways: 1. Yields were 40-50% down throughout Mendoza and the widely spread fruit were thus protected from disease 2. The cool climate prevented botrytis from spreading throughout the province.
By the crucial months of February and March, the El Niño rains had slowed and the harvest continued at the usual rate. The end of harvest was declared on April 25th with the first Autumn snow. All in all, this was one of the shortest overall harvest seasons that we can remember, having started 2-3 weeks late, and ended 2 weeks early. The wines of 2016 are unusually low in alcohol (12.5 to 13.5 is the norm) and high in natural acidity. And if cool climate matters as we think it does, many areas that we generally consider too warm for the highest quality have behaved exceptionally well in the 2015-2016 season.
Zone 4 Winkler became Zone 3, Zone 3 became Zone 2 and so on. We are also surprised to see absolutely no dilution in flavors from the increased rains. Perhaps this is due to the fact that from February to April precipitations stayed within the norm, but regardless, this year makes us question everything we have previously believed about water stress and climate change.
The key to quality this year was parcellization. Over the last decade, the Catena Zapata viticultural team hand in hand with the Catena Institute have mapped our estate vineyards into hundreds of parcels that are farmed and harvested separately. With the rains, heterogeneity increased in many places and identifying the right harvest time for an individual parcel and soil type was more crucial than ever. We will know more about ageability and quality of each region, vineyard and parcel in June and July when we get ready for blending.
Whole cluster pressed; fermented, sur lies, in barrels and stainless steel. Wild yeasts.
Total Acidity: 6.5 grams/liter
10 months in French oak. Barrel selection varies depending on vineyard and vintage - First, second and third use barrels used. 40% does not undergo malolactic fermentation.