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The 2023 wines will be among the most age worthy. After the October and November 2022 spring frosts which provoked a generalized reduction in yields, the climate was very dry with temperatures slightly on the warmer side. Low yields resulted in a harvest 2 to 4 weeks earlier than usual. The wines are quite elegant, with high natural acidity and low alcohols. Powerful minerality and texture are this year’s trademarks. It will be a vintage to be savored slowly, enjoying every sip and every glass…in moderation. 

Up until the early spring of 2022, the season was cool and mountain snow abundant enough that we could relax about having enough water. But then in October the rollercoaster started. Every rain would be followed by a drying Zonda wind and a sequence of frosts.

We had three frosts in October and then one in early November that affected all vineyard areas, from Patagonia in the South to Salta in the North of Argentina.

Although at first it seemed like the harvest would be delayed, the combination of low yields and slightly warmer temperatures in December and January led to a quickening of the ripening process. This resulted in most places being harvested between 2 and 4 weeks earlier than usual.


The effect of the frost was highly variable. In the Adrianna Vineyard, among the highest altitudes in Mendoza, thanks to the slope, we had almost no effect from the frost (we did light candles several times during the season).

Our Nicasia Vineyard in Altamira was mildly affected by the frost, with a reduction in yields which contributed to the power of the wines this year. Our vineyards that had the most dramatic reduction in yields were in the southernmost part of the Uco Valley, in our Angélica Sur Vineyard in El Cepillo, although the quality also, is extraordinary.

Flavors: typicity was accentuated this year, perhaps because of the lower alcohols and variable yields. Minerality is quite prominent, even in some of the lower altitude areas due to elevated natural malic acid throughout the wines. The key this year was to get the harvest time exactly right for each terroir, parcela and variety, and this, along with the frosts required many sleepless nights and weekends in the vineyard. Our efforts were rewarded by extraordinary, age-worthy wines, and for that we are grateful to nature. Salud!

On other exciting news, Dr. Laura Catena received in March the “Outstanding Achievement Award” from Meininger for her work in sustainability. She also received the “Old Vine Hero Award” from Our Old vines, for her longstanding commitment to promoting and protecting the future of Old Vine Malbec in Argentina. These recognitions, together with the “Woman of The Year 2022” from The Drinks Business, demonstrates Laura’s dedication to elevating Argentine wine for another 200 years.



MENDOZA, ARGENTINA – April 2020 – As Argentina went into mandatory quarantine on March 20th, the staff at Catena Zapata donned masks and gloves, and headed into the vineyards to gather the remaining grapes of an extraordinary harvest. Designated as food producers by the Argentine government, wineries have been allowed to continue working. In this context, on April 1st, Drinks International announced that Catena Zapata was voted The World’s Most Admired Wine Brand of 2020 by an international group of drinks buyers and wine experts, including wine professionals from 48 different countries. The survey was conducted in association with market research specialists at Wine Intelligence.
The announcement, scheduled to be unveiled by Drinks International at ProWein Fair in Dusseldorf, Germany in March, was postponed after the event’s cancellation due to the spread of COVID-19 across Europe. The Catena Zapata family’s joy at being the first Argentine winery to receive this global award is mixed with worry and concern for friends, family, and colleagues who are affected around the world.
At a time when health is of the utmost priority, the Catena Zapata family conducted a series of group video calls on Zoom to check on the well-being of those who have made this worldwide recognition possible. On April 1st and 2nd, the staff in Argentina connected with customers and colleagues from Latin America, Asia, North America, Africa, Oceania, Central America, and Europe to offer encouragement to those in quarantine and propose a virtual toast to their health and to better times.
Dr. Laura Catena, the winery’s fourth generation and managing director says: “I became a medical doctor at the time of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and felt hopeless at not being able to do more. Today, we are all able to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying home and helping our parents, grandparents, friends, and colleagues. This award for Catena Zapata, a first for an Argentine winery, goes to all the great people who have worked at our family winery since 1902, to our region’s beautiful vineyards, and to our fellow wine drinkers around the world.”
To determine The World’s Most Admired Wine Brands award, survey respondents were asked to list the three wine brands they most admire, taking into consideration the brand’s quality, consumer awareness, packaging, and its overall authenticity to their respective regions. Recent winners of the award include Torres, Penfolds, and Concha y Toro.
Now in its sixth decade of publication, Drinks International is a leading authority on the latest industry trends for global drinks buyers and professionals.
About Catena Zapata
Founded in 1902, Argentina’s Catena Zapata is known for its pioneering role in resurrecting the Malbec grape and in discovering extreme high-altitude terroirs in the Andean foothills of Mendoza. Nicolás Catena Zapata is the only South American to have received both Decanter's Man of the Year Award and Wine Spectator's Distinguished Service Award. The winery’s Adrianna Vineyard holds several 100-point wine ratings. For more information about Catena Zapata, please visit www.catenazapata.com.
Media Contact
Lucía García
+54 9 11 5877-0710



This is the story of how we have poured our lives, our passion, our spirit into transforming a scrub laden desert into some of the most beautiful and unique vineyards in the world. This is the story of how we have passed our knowledge from father to son, and daughter, across the generations and blended that collective memory of family with state-of-the-art science from the new world of viticulture. It is a tale of taking risks, of backing a hunch, of making a giant leap of faith, of enjoying a little luck along the way, to make our treasured terroir in Mendoza the fountainhead for the wines that carry our name.

It is part of our family’s folklore that our forefather Nicola Catena, who sailed from Italy to Argentina in 1898, celebrated leaving the famine in Europe for this plentiful new land by eating a piece of virtually raw steak for breakfast each morning. Best described as a tireless optimist, he firmly believed that he had found the promised land in Mendoza, where he planted his first Malbec vineyard in 1902. Malbec had been a blending grape in Bordeaux. But Nicola suspected it would find its hidden splendour in the Argentine Andes. Domingo, his son, inherited that dream and took the family winery to the next level, becoming one of the largest vineyard holders in Mendoza.

By the 1960s, however, Familia Catena was struggling. The Argentine economy was in shambles and inflation rates were soaring. One year, Domingo realized that it would cost him more to harvest than to leave the fruit on the vines. He asked his twenty-two year old son Nicolás, a recent PhD graduate in economics, what to do about such a dilemma. Nicolás advised him not to harvest. Domingo could not follow his son’s advice with a clear conscience and picked anyway. Nicolás still remembers the sadness he felt for his father that year.

Nicolás Catena would never use the word about himself - a less boastful spirit, it’s hard to imagine - but he has been the quiet revolutionary in the Catena family history book. He has charted the family’s path to the new frontier of winemaking, drawing on lessons learned from the land and in the classroom, then applying his education to dare to challenge the conventional wisdom.

Taking the reigns of the family vineyards and wineries in the mid 1960s, he concentrated on expanding distribution throughout Argentina during years of turmoil in the 1970s. But in the early 1980s, Nicolás left Argentina to become a visiting professor of economics at the University of California, on the world-renowned campus at Berkeley. The political and economic situation in Argentina was difficult, with a military government that had just declared war on the United Kingdom and inflation rates of more than 1000 per cent per year.

California, and especially Napa Valley were an inspiration to Nicolás and his wife Elena, who spent weekends visiting the area with their youngest daughter Adrianna in a backpack. Until that time, no one in the new world had dreamed of rivaling France.

Nicolás Catena returned to Mendoza with a vision in mind. From one day to the other, he sold his table wine producing company, keeping only Bodegas Esmeralda, the fine wine branch of the family business. At that time Argentina was perceived as a bulk wine producer and Nicolás was told by many of his colleagues in Argentina that he was “completamente loco” (completely crazy).

But Nicolás Catena is not someone to be easily discouraged. During the 1980s, Nicolás set out to discover the best places to plant vineyards in Mendoza. When recently asked why he decided to plant Chardonnay and Malbec in Gualtallary, at almost 5,000 feet elevation, Nicolás answered, “I felt that the only way we would make a leap in quality would be by pushing the limits of vine cultivation, by taking risks”. His own vineyard manager had told him that Malbec would never ripen there, but it did, and beautifully. Nicolás found that Mendoza was exceptional for vine growing, with each high altitude valley providing a unique flavor and aroma profile of the same varietal. He found that the poor soils near the Andes, discarded by the original European immigrants due to their low fertility, were actually ideal for quality viticulture. And that the desert climate was an asset because it allowed him to control quality and hang time through strict irrigation control.

Then came the challenge of what to do with Malbec. Nicolás did not have his father’s confidence in Malbec. Domingo Catena fiercely believed that Argentine Malbec could make a wine as worthy as any first growth Bordeaux. Nicolás was not sure that Malbec would be able to age. In 1989, after his father Domingo died, Nicolás put all his sorrow into trying to see if his father’s intuition was right. It took 5 years of working on the 60 year old Angélica vineyard before Nicolás was satisfied enough to make a Catena Malbec in 1994. Then came the question of which clones to plant in the new vineyards. Since there was no existing Argentine Malbec clonal selection, Nicolás decided to bring clones from Cahors, France. The French Chardonnay clones had given him his best white. But results for French Malbec clones were disappointing. They grew large berries and bunches with rustic aromas and flavors. 

Nicolás set out to develop his own selection of Argentine Malbec clones planting 145 clones in the La Pirámide vineyard. Of these, he selected the best five and began to plant them in different terroirs and altitudes.

By 1994, Nicolás and his team felt that they had identified their best vineyard lots for Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. First with Cabernet Sauvignon in 1994, Nicolás bottled a small cuvée from the oldest and most uniform lots in the La Pirámide vineyard. Three hundred cases of Catena Alta Cabernet Sauvignon were made. In 1995, Nicolás bottled his first Chardonnay from cool climate Tupungato region, sourcing the fruit from Lot 4 of the Domingo vineyard for the Catena Alta Chardonnay. The next year, in 1996, two acres of lot 18 of the Angélica vineyard produced the best Malbec, and Nicolás made his first Catena Alta Malbec.

1997 was a phenomenal Cabernet Sauvignon vintage, and Nicolás Catena started plans to make another top cuvée, a wine that would fulfill those dreams that had started in the early 1980s. The wine, named Nicolás Catena Zapata (Zapata is Nicolás' mother's maiden name), was a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec. It was released in 2001 through a series of blind tastings held in the USA and Europe where it was compared blind to Château Latour, Haut Brion, Solaia, Caymus and Opus One. The Nicolás Catena Zapata 1997 came in either first or second in every tasting.


In 2001 Nicolas' daughter Laura took over the Research & Development program at Bodega Catena Zapata. An Emergency Room physician with degrees from Harvard and Stanford, Laura brought a very strong science background to the family winery's R&D project. She immediately set about working with the high altitude Malbec that her father had planted. Laura was sure that this Argentine varietal, planted in these extreme microclimates, would yield somehting truly special.

Laura's determination to produce a world class Malbec led her and the viticultural team to conduct an actual plant by plant selection of the top Malbec lots in their high altitude vineyards. These Zapata plants were managed and harvested separately to isolate their incredible potential.


In 2004 this program produced such extraordinary fruit that the winemakeing team decided to ferment the fruit directly in new oak barrels. The result were three spectacular new Malbecs which showed the incredible quality of the family's high altitude Malbec vineyards:

Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard Malbec - a selection of the best plants from Lot 1 of the Nicasia Vineyard, located at an elevation of 3593 ft in the far southerly Altamira in La Consulta district of San Carlos.

Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard - a selection of the best plants from Lots 3 & 9 of the Adrianna Vineyard, located at an elevation of 4757 ft in the Gualtallary district of Tupungato.

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentina - a selection of the best plants from Lots 3 & 9 of the Adrianna Vineyard and Lot 1 of the Nicasia Vineyard.



Over the years, Nicolas Catena discovered the influence altitude has on fruit quality. As one climbs the altitudes of the Andes the average temperature decreases and the amplitude between day and night temperatures increases. This environment provides the ideal climate for grape maturation. Our vineyard management team has also made significant discoveries into the effects of irrigation on quality. Through the careful use of irrigation, we are able to manipulate the growth tendencies of each vine, forcing them to direct their resources to the maturation of a limited number of clusters. The extremely low rainfall in Mendoza allows us to take full advantage of controlled irrigation.

One of our most rewarding projects has been the 1989 restoration of Angélica, our 60 year old Malbec vineyard in Lunlunta. Malbec, which was Nicolás' father Domingo's favorite varietal, flourishes in Argentina as nowhere else in the world.



Blending different varietals, different lots and even different vintages is an art as old as winemaking itself. In Bordeaux, the blending of the famous five - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec - is a centuries old art. Each component is thought to add a level of complexity to the wine.  Over the past 20 years, Nicolás and Laura Catena and their vineyard management team have worked tirelessly in the discovery, identification and development of key microclimates in the high altitude wine country of Mendoza, Argentina. Nicolás Catena has planted an almost countless number of varietals and clones throughout his mountain vineyard sites.


This quest for quality led Nicolás and Laura Catena to a crucial discovery regarding the influence of altitude on grape cultivation in Mendoza. Observing the important differences in soil types, average temperatures and thermal amplitudes that exist at varying altitudes, he found that vineyard sites which are just a few kilometers apart can have vast differences in altitude and possess remarkably different microclimates. 

Over the years, the in depth study of these different microclimates led Nicolás to determine that the same varietal, and even the same clone, presented distinct aromatic and flavor profiles when cultivated in each of these unique microclimates. Implementing the age old art of assemblage, he found that by blending these different lots of the same varietal, he could achieve a more complex wine.


As great artists tap their creative spirit to mix and match colors in the production of magnificent works of art, this wide array of distinct lot selections allows the winemaking team at Bodega Catena Zapata to engage in a creative, intricate process of blending in order to craft the final wine.

Starting with the 2001 vintage, our Catena and Catena Alta wines will reflect this new winemaking philosophy. They will be a blend of different microclimates and will carry the Mendoza appellation instead of a specific vineyard designation. The only exception will be the Catena Alta Chardonnay. We believe that at 4757 feet, the Adrianna Vineyard is today the best site for growing Chardonnay in Mendoza.


To some, this change may sound counter-intuitive. Vineyard designated wines are often thought of as being of a higher rank. But in Mendoza, as in Bordeaux, we are convinced that this art of assemblage will bring you a much more delicious wine. 

In order to further highlight this revolutionary concept of single varietal, microclimate blending, beginning with the 2002 vintage we will bottle 5 different single vineyard Malbecs. These bottlings will highlight the differences between the various microclimates and terroirs of Mendoza's high altitude wine country. 


17 different wines with 73 vintages


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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines and Champagne Magazine, Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Catena Zapata . In a tasting of  35 wines 

BWW2023 - Best Wine od the World -competition / Day I

1m 12d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Catena Zapata . In a tasting of  25 wines 

The 100 Tasting 1990s', Part II

2m 5d ago

 Catena Zapata  has news

HARVEST REPORT - 2023 The 2023 wines will be among the most age worthy. After the October and Nov  more ...

2m 13d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  2 wines  from  Catena Zapata . In a tasting of  23 wines 

Felton Road Bannockburn Riesling 2021 / Pale lemon yellow. Apples, some citrus, fruit driven nose. Fresh acidity, apples, fruit driven, elegant texture, nuanced, good length. 89

1y 8m ago

 Stephen Tanzer, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  15 wines  from  Catena Zapata . In a tasting of  15 wines 

Inspired by the high quality of the 1997 vintage, especially for Cabernet Sauvignon, Catena introduced a new high-end blend that year, naming it Nicolás Catena Zapata (Zapata was his mother’s maiden name). A blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec made in a Bordeaux style and intended for long aging, the 1997 was released in 2001 and made an immediate splash in the international marketplace as it bested numerous top Bordeaux and California Cabernet-based wines in a series of blind tastings in Europe and the U.S.

1y 8m ago

 Marc FRANS, Wine Collector (Belgium)  tasted  1 wines  from  Catena Zapata . In a tasting of  1 wines 

9 m ripening on French oak (30% new) 13,5% Alc.
Eye: Crystal clear, full, lemon yellow, great viscosity, lots of slow fatty tears.
Nose: Pure, intense, lemon, apple, apricot, lychee, banana, good portion of oak but not excessive, white pepper, vanilla, a little wax and butter.
Mouth: Plumpness and acidity in balance (+1), long aftertaste of 6 sec with sufficient freshness. A wine that never gets bored if you like wood like me.

1y 9m ago

 Andre Brattland, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Catena Zapata . In a tasting of  29 wines 

Some of the best wines tasted 2019-2021

2y 3m ago

 Catena Zapata  has updated producer and wine information

3y 4m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Catena Zapata . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Opus One 2008 / Deep ruby, youthful, cassis, coffee, blueberries. Softer texture, feels very elegant even as it is so young, fresh acidity, ripe tannins, balanced, long length. 94

3y 6m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  2 wines  from  Catena Zapata . In a tasting of  31 wines 

2009 Shea Willamette Valley Shea Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir:
Ruby. Red berries, fruity, rich, intense, oaky notes, not easy to see the grape influence here. Freshish acidity, ripe tannins, rich and ripe and then very oaky, edgy oaky on the palate, good length. 89points

5y 6m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, MW (Germany)  tasted  5 wines  from  Catena Zapata . In a tasting of  59 wines 

“The Sommelier World Championship 2016 was hold in Mendoza. This event presented a great opportunity to taste a number of wines during the journey through Argentina. The wines were tasted in open tasting, partially at the wineries, partially during presentations, lunches or dinners.

7y 4m ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Catena Zapata . In a tasting of  29 wines 

“2012 Bordeauxs suprised me positively in a mix bag tasting – Talbot 2012 and d'Armailhac are very approachable. On whites Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2010 from S.A. Prüm represented the greatness of German rieslings. California convinced with its Mt Brave Cab, Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay and Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs Brut.”

7y 10m ago

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