Robert Parker – 94
The 2012 Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino is a blend of grapes from Adrianna (Gualtallary) and Nicasia (Altamira) vineyards in the Uco Valley. The nose made me think of meat broth, vegetable concentrate and other umami-laden foods as it’s really tasty. There is something earthy too, and the palate is concentrated yet feels light. Balance, harmony, power and freshness. 11,000 bottles were produced in the 2012 vintage.
Anticipated maturity: 2015-2021
Vinous – 92+
(60% from a Gualtallary vineyard planted at 5,000 feet and 40% from the same vineyard as the Nicasia Malbec; these top-of-the-line cuvées are aged in 30% new oak for 18 months, but this one gets larger barrels; includes bits of Viognier and whole-cluster Cabernet Franc): Bright ruby-red. Blackberry, cassis, licorice and violet on the youthfully medicinal but vibrant nose. Very tight and minerally in the early going, with pungent acidity contributing to the impression of inner-mouth floral lift. Strong smoky and saline minerality. Fifty percent of this wine was fermented via carbonic maceration. Tannins are big and firm but one feels the acidity today; the pH is a moderate 3.5. No shortage of sweetness here, but the wine’s spine will require patience.
Anticipated maturity: 2019-2025