Awarded 92 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (www.robertparker.com) in June 2018 (see blue link below)...
Catena Alta Chardonnay 2016 - Wine Advocate/Parker June 2018 review
In 1902, Nicola Catena, an Italian immigrant, planted his first vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina. The winery has remained under family control — now in its fourth generation — and is one of the few family-owned wine companies in Argentina that remains in Argentine hands. Owned today by Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura, Bodega Catena Zapata is known as the pioneer of fine wine from Argentina, and Nicolás is recognized as the vintner who revolutionized wine quality in Argentina. A trained economist, Nicolás began this revolution in the early 1980s and continues to challenge himself and his team to make wines that can be counted among the best in the world. His measured approach to viticulture has taken its place in wine history as the pioneer of Malbec and high-altitude viticulture.
Catena wines, first launched in 1992, set a new standard for quality in South America. The wines immediately proved the quality potential of Argentina and garnered the first outstanding reviews for Argentine wines from worldwide media. After more than 20 years, the wines of Catena continue to lead the way in Argentine viticulture and winemaking. The family and the winery’s employees take great pride in carrying on the tradition that began over a century ago.
These vines undergo a careful thinning process, leaving only a select few clusters, resulting in remarkably complex, aromatic and flavorful fruit. Through the application of natural techniques, these grapes are transformed into Catena Alta. The Catena Alta Chardonnay is produced from two of the Catena family vineyards - Adrianna, at almost 5,000 feet elevation and Domingo, at 3,700 feet elevation. The Adrianna vineyard's pebble covered soil and cool climate are ideal for growing Chardonnay. The fruit from Adrianna has a purity of flavors and a minerality that is particular to this vineyard and cannot be found anywhere else in Mendoza. Meanwhile, the sandy loam soils of the Domingo vineyard contribute white stone fruit and good acid balance.
Whole clusters are pressed and then 100% fermented in 500-litre French oak barrels with natural yeasts at low temperatures and with aggressive battonage. Aged for 14 months in French oak. 30% does not undergo malolactic fermentation. First-, second- and third- use barrels used.
The Catena Alta Chardonnay presents an intenese greenish-yellow color. The nose offers ripe white fruit aromas such as pears and peaches that are interwoven with delicate citrus and floral notes, such as jasmine. The palate shows rich and concentrated ripe pear, apple and apricot flavors with a light note of minerality. The wine finishes long and complex with crisp, mineral acidity.