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Nicola Cantena planted his first Malbec vineyard in Mendoza in 1902 and today the estate is run by Nicholas Catena and his daughter Laura. Malbec continues to be the estates focus and the wineries pristine vineyards lie at the base of the Andes on soils of sand, lime and stone at altitudes between 920 and 1120 metres above sea level. Over the last 20 years, the fastidous vineyard work of Nicholas and Laura has paid dividends and Catena Zapata is now one of Argentina's most famous estates. Lush, beautifully created wines are what you can expect from Catena Zapata.

The 2008 Argentino Malbec is a blend of 65% Adrianna and 35% Nicasia fruit. It, too, spent 24 months in 100% new French oak. It offers a similar aromatic and flavor profile but with just a bit of extra nuance, presumably because of the blending. Dense, rich, and voluptuous, this lengthy effort should easily achieve its 20th birthday in peak form. It will be most enjoyable to taste these three wines side-by-side in another 10-15 years. Rating: 97 Points; Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Bright saturated ruby. Reticent, pure, very primary aromas of blackberry, licorice and minerals, with a whiff of pepper emerging with air. Sweet, dense, chewy and powerfully concentrated, offering superb lift to the cassis and blackberry flavors. Tactile and extremely long on the finish, showing sweet tannins and superb lift. Rating: 94 Points; Antonio Galloni


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