Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate critic Luis Gutiérrez awards perfect scores to South America for the first time: Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard River Stones Malbec 2016 and El Gran Enemigo Single Vineyard Gualtallary 2013, both from the Catena family’s Adrianna Vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina.
Since its inception 40 years ago, a 100 point score from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate has marked the rise of a select few wineries from around the world. Most extraordinary is that this first-time South American perfect wine score was awarded to two wines produced in one vineyard, the Catena family’s Adrianna Vineyard. When Nicolás Catena planted this site in 1992, he was called crazy for cultivating the vines at such a high altitude. Vineyards had never been planted in the Gualtallary District, Tupungato Alto, Mendoza, because the climate was considered too extreme. This award for Argentina’s finest Grand Cru site, Adrianna, marks a historic moment for South American wine.
“Since 1902, every generation of my family has worked to elevate Argentine wine, and these awards for the Adrianna Vineyard are a true recognition for our region,” says Dr. Laura Catena, Managing Director of Catena Zapata.
“Terroir is everything, whether in France, Italy, or Argentina,” Catena adds. “When he planted the Adrianna Vineyard, my father, Nicolás Catena, was seeking an ideal location to make age-worthy wines in Mendoza, a site at the cool climate limit of vine cultivation.
The organically farmed Adrianna Vineyard lies at almost 5,000 feet elevation on an ancient dry riverbed with a unique combination of stony and limestone soils, microbiomes and climate, resulting in a labyrinth of different micro-terroirs. By separately vinifying the grapes from each small parcel, we’ve found ‘the gold’ within this site.” The Adrianna Vineyard River Stones Malbec 2016 comes from a particularly stony alluvial soil section of the vineyard. The small, oval stones provide excellent drainage and moderate the vast temperature shifts between the sunny days and cool nights.
The wine’s suggested retail price is $160 per bottle and is scheduled for release in 2019. Catena Zapata’s head winemaker Alejandro Vigil was also behind the Gran Enemigo Single Vineyard Gualtallary 2013, a partnership between himself and Adrianna Catena, Nicolás Catena’s youngest daughter. A blend of 85% Cabernet Franc and 15% Malbec from the cool 2013 vintage, this exciting wine will evolve gracefully in the cellar for many years. Its suggested retail price is $120.