Catena Zapata: A Conversation with Pablo Sanchez

Pablo Sanchez, Catena Zapata Winemaker 

How I wish when I received the invitation to the Catena Zapata vertical tasting that I knew Winemaker Pablo Sanchez would be attending. I admit, I would have come better prepared.  So I was surprised to find him standing in the room at Specs, but thrilled that I arrived early to spend some time with him.  Sanchez was there for his first trip to Dallas, one of Catena Zapata’s most successful markets, to satisfy a room full of Dallas wine lovers who were ready to sample the latest line-up of his wines.

In 1898, Nicola Catena, who founded the winery, left the European famine and came to Argentina with a dream of owning his own vintage.  His son, Nicolas Catena Zapata, originally a physics major, had a vision for the Malbec grape and was the first to plant Malbec at an extreme high altitude.  The winery blends six different vineyard blocks and six types of soil into its line of wines.  The wines first arrived in the states in the 90s.

Sanchez was here to educate folks in the United States about the face of Argentinian wine that went beyond the room of passionate folks who were ready to buy in Dallas.  We tried the following line up:

Catena Zapata White Bones Chardonnay 2009 – big notes of butterscotch and honey. This was a big bodied chardonnay.

Catena Zapata White Stones Chardonnay 2009 — wonderful stone fruits, nuttiness, vanilla and a mineral finish.  This was an Old World style that blew me away

Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard Malbec 2009 – currant, cherry, spice and licorice that has a lush finish.  This was truly cellar worthy and delicious.

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino  2009 – lots of black fruit, licorice and pepper.  Very drinkable.

Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Malbec 2009 – big berry, earthiness, mocha and chocolate.  Another very nice example of what good Malbec tastes like.

Nicolás Catena Zapata 2008 – spicy with notes of chocolate, cherry and herbs.  Delicious.

Nicolás Catena Zapata 2001 – this was fun to see what happens with age in a Malbec and I can tell you that it aged nicely.  Still had notes of cherry and was a complex wine.