Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Mundus Bacillus Terrae Malbec 2019
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The sleek and elegant 2019 Adrianna Vineyard Mundus Bacillus Terrae is now certified organic (since 2018) and comes from vines planted in 1992 at 1,390 meters above sea level in Gualtallary on alluvial limestone soils. Seventy-five percent of the volume fermented in concrete vats with 50% full clusters, and the remaining 25% fermented in oak foudres. But instead of fermenting the grapes, they only fermented the juice (as it's usually done for white wines), to give the wine more elegance and lightness. I was listening to a record from a new band, Generation Radio, with musicians from Journey and Chicago, and the music had a similar profile to the wine: sleek, elegant, polished, nicely crafted, clean and harmonious, easy to listen to (and drink to) with a soft side to it. The wine has ripeness (14% alcohol) but also high acidity from the high-altitude vineyards, which makes it very lively, beautifully textured, balanced and elegant. Beautiful. Best after 2023.
Bodega Catena Zapata is one of Argentina's high altitude Malbec pioneers. The Catena family began making wine in Mendoza in 1902. Nicolas Catena, third generation family vintner, was one of the first to see the potential of Mendoza's mountain vineyards for producing high quality Malbec. In 1994, he became the first Argentine to exprot a world-class bottling of Malbec under the Catena label. Nicolas is joined by his daughter, Dr. Laura Catena, in their relentless pursuit of world-class quality from the family's high altitude vineyards. Laura has done extensive work in introducing Malbec and other varietal plant selections, soil and climate analysis, and sustainable practices throughout Mendoza. Head winemaker, Alejandro Vigil, has been at Catena Zapata since 2002 and works with Laura and Nicolas to make wines that express the family's vineyards and palate.
With a winning combination of cool weather, high elevation and well-draining alluvial soils, it is no surprise that Mendoza’s Uco Valley is one of the most exciting up-and-coming wine regions in Argentina. Healthy, easy-to-manage vines produce low yields of high-quality fruit, which in turn create flavorful, full-bodied wines with generous acidity.
This is the source of some of the best Malbec in Mendoza, which can range from value-priced to ultra-premium. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay also perform well here.
Celebrated for its bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec has enjoyed runaway success in Argentina since the late 20th century. The grape originated in Bordeaux, France, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends. A French agronomist, who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, brought Malbec to Argentina in 1868. Somm Secret—If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet with its combination of dense fruit and soft tannins.