Bodega Catena Zapata

Nicolas Catena Zapata

Argentina, Mendoza


Nicolas Catena Zapata

This gastronomic beauty is made from pre-phylloxera Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon massale selections from ungrafted vines and over-barrelled in French oak. It’s a glimpse into the past from the high altitude vineyards of Mendoza. A rich wine of power, substance and twenty years of age. One to cogitate over.

WBSS24 Nicolas Catena Zapata 2001

Nicolás Catena Zapata: Argentina's Wine Visionaries

With its inaugural 1997 vintage, Nicolás Catena Zapata became the first luxury cuvée from Argentina to be exported around the world. The wine recreates the original 'Bordeaux Blend’ of the 18th and 19th centuries, when Malbec dominated over Merlot and was in equal standing to Cabernet Sauvignon in the Médoc. Pre-phylloxera Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon massale selections from ungrafted vines give rise to this wine, opening a window to the past from the mountain vineyards of Mendoza.

Family Legacy and Innovation

Four generations of the Catena family have farmed the vineyards of Mendoza, ever since Italian founder Nicola Catena planted his first Malbec vines in 1902. Robert Parker’s 2005 book ’100 Greatest World Wine Estates’ featured only one winery from South America: Catena Zapata. Parker wrote: “Argentina’s greatest visionary is Nicolás Catena Zapata, and his crusade for high-altitude vineyards and conservative viticultural practices has resulted in one after another breakthrough wines that have pushed Argentina to the forefront of the modern winemaking revolution.” Joined by his daughter Dr. Laura Catena in 1995, the father-daughter team’s vision is to elevate Argentine wine for another 100 years.

Bodega Catena Zapata_Nicolas Catena Zapata_2001_WBSS24

2018 Vintage and Winemaking Process

In 2018 Catena Zapata joined La Place with two wines: Nicolás Catena Zapata, the winery’s top Cabernet Sauvignon blend, and Adrianna Vineyard Mundus Bacillus Terrae, the winery’s top Malbec cru. The vintage started very well with moderate spring temperatures and an absence of frost. There was dry and warm weather until mid-March. At the end of March there were scattered rainstorms which produced some botrytis in clay-soil areas. For those who had patience and harvested a few weeks after the rains it was a phenomenal vintage.

Handcrafted Excellence

The harvest is done by hand and some parcels are fermented as whole bunches to enhance tannic structure and freshness. The fermentation takes place in 225 and 500l oak barrels, at temperatures of 28–30ºC for approximately 18 days. The post-ferment maceration lasts between 26 and 30 days, when the wine carries out its malolactic fermentation. It is then aged in French oak barrels for 24 months.


Eucalyptus honey, dry cranberry and vanilla come to the fore on the nose. The palate shows power and substance which have evolved beautifully after twenty years of ageing. Very rich, the oak tannins are still present making it quite oaky. Still to develop its tertiary aromas.


This is a very gastronomic wine. It would accompany certain soups very well, equally it would be delicious with grilled meats. It would also work nicely on its own after dinner as a wine for thought - a ‘meditation’ wine.


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WBSS24 Nicolas Catena Zapata 2001

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