Catena Zapata Nicolas Catena Zapata 2018
Sweet tobacco, walnuts, blackberries and dried flowers on the nose. Full body, yet ultra-fine tannins and a super long finish. Superb finesse and polish. Drink after 2023, but already fabulous.
Bright medium ruby. Vibrant aromas of blueberry, violet, licorice, spices and bitter chocolate; this really stands out among Catena's 2017 reds for its floral character. Juicy and tightly wound but not a bit hard, communicating a distinctly primary quality to its densely packed flavors of crushed black fruits, violet, bitter chocolate and minerals. Boasts terrific energy and penetrating grip for this special bottling, finishing dense and extremely long but not at all heavy, with serious but perfectly buffered tannins saturating the tongue and teeth. This really fills the olfactories! But lay this beauty down and forget about it for three or four years. My sample retained its verve for many days in the recorked bottle.
The dominant cassis and eucalyptus Cabernet Sauvignon character translates into a clear austerity at this point and I suggest giving this a few more years to fully soften and let the purity of the fruit show its full impact. Deep inky colour, powerful tannins and a straight-line uplift from start to finish that speaks of the excellent levels of freshness even with this density of tannins. From ungrafted wines producing a tiny volume in this vintage after spring frosts, meaning there are extremely limited quantities through the Place. Unquestionably one of the great wines of Argentina, overseen by the talented Laura Catena.
The approachable 2017 Nicolás Catena Zapata has a little more Cabernet Franc in the blend, even if the majority is Cabernet Sauvignon and there is some Malbec. In 2017, they sourced Cabernet Sauvignon from Altamira and Gualtallary, and it fermented together with the juice of the Cabernet Franc. It has a touch of ripeness in the nose but without excess; it's balsamic, with the Cabernet dominating the aromatics. The palate comes through as really balanced and perhaps a little lighter. It has very fine tannins and a clean, focused finish. 78,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in November 2018.