Wine Advocate 94 points - The top two white wines are really mindboggling. I tasted them in Madrid, and was impressed, but I had to jump into a pit with a glass of each in the Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary to really understand the differences in terroir, which is what separates them: they are both sourced from the same vineyard, but from different micro-plots. The 2010 Catena Zapata White Stones Chardonnay is sourced from rows in the Adrianna vineyard in Gualtallary where the soil is rich in chalk-covered stones all the way to the surface, hence the name. The alcohol is limited to 13% and the wine is incredibly fresh (it has 7.5 grams of acidity/liter and a pH of 3.25). The grapes are harvested at five different points in time to get different ripeness of grapes and therefore different levels of acidity, sugar and aromatic compounds. The wine fermented in old wood and inox for around 15 days, there is no malolactic (in some barrels it happens naturally, and there’s nothing you can do) and the wine ages in tank for nine months before bottling. Alejandro does not like to completely top up the barrels, because he does not want to use SO2, and prefers the veil of yeast to develop naturally. It is something that protects from oxidation. This is really backward and ungiving, slowly showing some white flowers, citric notes and echoes of chalk and smoke. The palate is medium bodied, really seamless, with great freshness and pungent acidity ending long and with a mineral feeling. This is superb! Only 3,600 bottles were filled in 2010. Drink 2014-2020.
White Stones Chardonnay comes from a select 27 rows within Block 1 of the Adrianna Vineyard. The wine is then fermented in French oak barrels at low temperatures to preserve the aromatics. A little over two-thirds of the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation. The name refers to the gravelly ground beneath the vines, which is covered with oval, white stones.
|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 lead 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.