INSIDER'S PICK: 2010 BODEGAS CATENA ZAPATA 'NICOLAS CATENA ZAPATA' (Vinous 94 Points, Wine Advocate 95 Points) $99.99
One of the most fortunate relationships we have been able to nurture over the years has been with the Catena Zapata winery in Argentina. It is not hyperbole to say they are among the most respected wineries in the Southern Hemisphere, easily among the most important and revolutionary in Argentina. They are as iconic in their part of the world as Martin Ray and Robert Mondavi are in California. Dr. Nicolas Catena, the patriarch of the modern winemaking family, was one of the first to move through the financial and political upheaval of the 1980's and focus on improving the quality of winemaking in Mendoza. His early experimenting with clonal selection for Malbec and high elevation vineyard development put their evolution decades ahead of everyone else, and what was learned at their winery has influenced almost every other exceptional vineyard in the country. Volumes have been written about them, and multiple awards bestowed upon them, more than we can do justice in this email.
The Nicolas Catena Zapata bottling was first introduced in the 1997 vintage, a selection of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon and various portions of Malbec from their best vineyards. Since its inception it has been one of the most dependably high achieving wines in the world, routinely equaling the finest Bordeaux and California Cabernets in blind tastings, as well as outstanding press and reviews from the most respected publications. This wine always displays great power, but because of the high altitude vineyards the fruit always has an added layer of acidity often lacking in 'big' wines. Simply put, this is a world class wine, and we consider ourselves fortunate to have the opportunity to present it for a free tasting.
Because of the high price of the bottle we will only have the opportunity to open one for tasting; if that should occur, we will have two other wines from Catena Zapata open to taste instead, the 2015 Chardonnay 'Tupungato' and the 2014 Cabernet Franc 'San Carlos'. Bottles of the Nicolas Catena Zapata can be purchased for the 10% discount even if the tasting bottle is finished off. Hope to see you here!
Before we get fully flung into the Thanksgiving mode for the next two weeks, we thought we should have one last wine to taste that's completely non-compatible with turkey, in a good way. Maury is one of the regions in the French Catalonian part of Roussillon that was best known at one time for making fortified wines. As that industry has largely faded out of fashion in recent years many old vineyards were sold, uprooted, or abandoned. Thankfully some of the better sites have been saved by opportunistic wineries looking to re-purpose those vineyards into regular table wines. A lot of them take advantage of the hearty base fruit character fueled by the warm dry growing conditions to craft bold, full throttled and very modern tasting wines like this one.
Built mostly from Syrah and Mourvedre with a splash of Carignan, this inky purple colored wine has an unlikely floral, almost impossibly pretty aroma. Whiffs of citrus and magnolia blossoms mix in with cherry and blackberries, at times making it easy to convince someone there are some white grapes is the blend somewhere. But there aren't, we checked. On the palate the texture is deep and polished with no hard edges or aggressive oak flavors, and the schist soils help provide an underlying minerality that give the finish life that could otherwise be lost under all the rich dark fruit. A perfect wine to match with your anti-Thanksgiving steak or pork roast dinner.
This is a wine that ticks off so many boxes on the 'fun wine' checklist it isn't even funny. High quality, great value, 'new' to most people yet remarkably traditional, and you get an extra 25% to pour around! While the vast majority of people think of Chianti when talking Tuscan wines, we often forget that a large portion of the region sits along the Mediterranean and has a very different climate than that around Florence and Sienna. The wine industry here is quite different as well, built mostly around everyday drinking without much of an eye for international markets. The style is more akin to the Rhone or Sicily/Sardinia, robust and warm fruited, and the grapes featured are Cannonau (or Grenache) and Carignan among others. In recent years producers like this are gaining more attention among consumers looking for 'Natural' wines as so much of their style is influenced by older traditions (neutral barrels or amphorae aging, native yeasts, lower sulfide usage) and there is enough production taking place that there is still value to be found.
A deep red in the glass but more transparent than most Cotes Du Rhone ones, the nose is all sun baked Mediterranean soil and dried cherries, which gain a bit of cranberry and cured meats as it opens up. On the palate the fruit gets even more savory and gamey, loaded with tart cherry and a dusty earth finish. This tastes absolutely nothing like your typical Tuscan wine, but even with grapes we usually connect with French wines the profile is distinctly Italian. This is a wine that DESERVES food, something hearty and loaded down with spicy sausage or a flavorful meat of some sort.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!