Bodega Catena Zapata
“There are many ways of discovering a new and great terroir. Luck plays a part, but luck is nothing if you don’t know what you’re looking for; understanding what might constitute an extraordinary terroir is particularly challenging in these days of climate change.”
Nicolás Catena Zapata
Founded in 1902, Argentina’s Bodega Catena Zapata is known for its pioneering role in resurrecting Malbec and in discovering extreme high altitude terroirs in the Andean foothills of Mendoza. The Bodega has been family run for over 115 years and has elevated Argentinian wine making from the everyday to the extraordinary: Despite being a largescale operation, they make superb single vineyard wines and their pursuit of quality has inspired many other Argentinian winemakers.
Nicolás Catena Zapata and his daughter Laura have overseen three distinct revolutions in their vineyards: The first revolution occurred in the 1980’s when better hygiene, improved vineyard management and using high quality oak barrels led to significant improvements in the consistency and quality of their wines. The second revolution was in the 1990’s where extreme high altitude sites were planted against the advice of many other winemakers. The Adrianna Vineyard at Tupungato is over 1500m and produces wines with a power, texture and richness not seen elsewhere in Mendoza. The third revolution was overseen by Dr Laura Catena and this involved splitting large vineyards into smaller ‘parcellas’: She had discovered that each vineyard had a multitude of soil types and sub-strata. Each vineyard parcella is now vinified separately and this has resulted in very specific terroir driven wines being produced. These wines are of the highest quality and can legitimately be considered some of the best in the world.