Laura Catena, daughter of Argentine vintner Nicolas Catena, who runs the family-owned Bodegas Esmeralda and Catena Wines, is striking out on her own. Currently vice president of Catena (which produces Alamos Ridge and the single-vineyard Catena and Catena Alta wines), Laura Catena will head up her own project called Luca, named for her son.
Catena, who will be working with winemaker Alejandro Sejanovich, will purchase grapes from her father. All the fruit will come from Argentina's Mendoza region.
The Luca wines will be varietally labeled, but several will contain small amounts of additional grapes. The Cabernet Sauvignon, for instance, will contain a combined total of 15 percent Petit Verdot and Malbec. The Syrah will contain Malbec and Bonarda (a red Italian variety).
"I'm a blending fanatic," said Catena. "With blending, you can create such interesting things."
In addition to the Cabernet and Syrah, the Luca lineup will also include Malbec, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The first vintage, which will be released in the coming weeks, will be 1999. Production is limited (between 100 to 400 cases for each bottling), and the wines will retail for $30 to $50 per bottle.
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