Argentina's Nicolas Catena, who has almost single-handedly brought Argentinean wine to the attention of the international wine scene with Bodegas Esmeralda and Catena Wines, has recently completed construction on a new winery, Catena Zapata (Zapata is Nicolas' mother's last name). The winery is located in the Mendoza region, in the middle of Catena's 18-year-old Agrelo vineyard, a 360-acre vineyard planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The new winery's flashy architecture, which is based on the structure of Mayan pyramids, represents the spare-no-expense style of present-day winery construction, replete with custom-made tanks, mobile crushers and selection tables, as well as new punching-down and remontage machines. Although the winery has a 180,000-case production capacity, it is designed with numerous small tanks to accommodate small-batch, high-end wine production. The winery officially opens April 1, though winemaking began there with the '99 harvest.
The new facility will produce Catena's high-end Catena Alta line, as well as the regular Catena line and the value-priced Alamos Ridge wines. In addition, a new Cabernet Sauvignon is also being made at the winery, but only in select vintages. The first bottling of this new Catena Zapata Cabernet comes from the excellent 1997 vintage and will retail for $80. It is due to be released this spring, and Wine Spectator will review it in the near future. The winery also intends to add a new line of single-vineyard bottlings.
Check out recent ratings of Catena, Catena Alta and Alamos Ridge wines.
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