My recent journey to Mendoza, Argentina has reminded me that great vacations and fine wines both have the power to linger in your memory long after the experience has passed. With the stunning Andes mountains as a backdrop, Mendoza's legendary wines are served in gracious style by talented and passionate vintners that will never leave your wineglass empty. On this cold day in New York City, I find myself reminiscing about my visit to Bodega Catena Zapata.
One of Mendoza's most important wineries, Catena Zapata's story begins in 1902 when Italian immigrant Nicola Catena planted his first Malbec vineyard. More than 100 years later, his descendants Dr. Nicolás Catena alongside his daughter Dr. Laura Catena (an emergency room physician with degrees from Harvard and Stanford), have led Bodega Catena Zapata to globally acclaimed standards of excellence. In fact, Bodega Catena Zapata is one of the few major Argentine wineries that remains family owned. Under the leadership of chief winemaker Alejandro Vigil, Bodega Catena Zapata has earned many accolades, including being recognized as Winery of the Year (2012) by Wine and Spirits Magazine.
Of course, Malbec features prominently in any discussion of wines from Argentina and the Bodega Catena Zapata portfolio offers an impressive selection. Catena Malbec 2013 (around $24, rated 90 points by Wine Enthusiast) is a great introduction to the Bodega Catena Zapata style. Sourced from Mendoza's signature high-altitude vineyards, Catena Malbec 2013 is a rich and silky red with lively flavors of blackberry and blueberry with a touch of spice and minerality.
If you're planning a trip to Mendoza, be sure to reserve in advance for a guided tour and tasting at Bodega Catena Zapata. A special thank you to Mercedes Labat (wine educator) and Estela Ines Perinetti (winemaker) for making my visit to Bodega Catena Zapata so special.