Reviews Tastings

Considered South America’s Grand Cru, Mendoza’s Adrianna Vineyard

WCM Co-President Shawn Zylberbegs with Pablo Piccolo, Bodega Catena Zapata Export Director

If you were to ask wine enthusiasts from around the world, as well as locals, they would likely recommend the Adrianna Vineyard in Mendoza, owned and planted by the Catena Zapata Winery. This single vineyard was planted in 1992 and is divided into parcels that produce five unique wines, including two Chardonnays and three Malbecs. For WCM’s first tasting of 2024, we visited Miami’s leading Argentinian cuisine destination, Fiorito, where we sampled the latest vintages with Pablo Piccolo, the export director.

Catena Zapata White Stones Chardonnay 2010 – RP 94-This is really backward and ungiving, slowly showing some white flowers,citric notes and echoes of chalk and smoke. The palate is medium bodied,really seamless, with great freshness and pungent acidity ending long and with a mineral feeling. This is superb! 3,600 bottles produced.

Catena Zapata White Stones Chardonnay 2021 – RP 98- The 2021 White Stones Chardonnay is subtler and more elegant, a little closed with moderate ripeness and alcohol (12.5%) and a mineral palate with strongchalky sensations. This is serious and tasty. 7,300 bottles produced.

Catena Zapata White Bones Chardonnay 2021 – RP 98-This wine was harvested at two different points of ripeness and then blended into the final wine, which is subtler than the explosive 2020 I tasted next to itbut with the same palette of aromas—thyme, rosemary, lavender, rockrose, white flowers, citrus, pine needles, incense, curry and spices—and the palate is seamless, mineral and with a chalky texture. It’s brilliant and expresses the variety, vintage and soil perfectly. 6,240 bottles produced.

Catena Zapata Mundus Bacillus Malbec 2020 – RP 97-The wine was still very young with a luxurious, creamy texture and mouthfeel.2020 was an extremely dry year and the grapes were picked two to three weeks earlier. It has a bright, saturated color and a heady nose with ripeberries and a spicy, smoky twist from 19 months in oak vats. It’s medium to full bodied, with a soft texture and velvety tannins, sleek and seamless. 5,700 bottles produced.

Catena Zapata River Malbec 2020 – RP 97- It’s juicy but beautifully textured with a spicy twist of curry that reminded me of some bottlings from El Enemigo in El Cepillo. It seems to open up slowly in the glass—the violet and berry aromas get complicated by some spice (curry?)—and the palate feels more layered. This is a superb expression of the austere wildness of Gualtallary. 5,700 bottles produced.

Catena Zapata Fortuna Terrae Malbec 2020 – RP 98 –The 2020 Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae shows exceptionally well. It’s still young and juicy with some baby fat that should get rendered with somemore time in bottle. It’s a little lighter, and the tannins gave it grip and a chalky limestone sensation. But the wine is very expressive, with purity, clean and precise and not showing any signs of coming from a warmer year like 2020. It finishes with the telltale violets from the great Malbec grape coated by chalky minerality. This plot behaves well in warmer years like this one. 5,400 bottles produced.

Fiorito 5555 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137

A truly epic lineup for any collector who is serious about Malbec and Chardonnay’s longevity.