Dr. Laura Catena
Red, white and sparkling wines (some natural) focusing on single terroir and high altitude blends. Notable Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Founded in 1902 by Italian immigrant Nicola Catena, who championed the Malbec grape from the off despite its declining popularity in Bordeaux, Catena Zapata is today a centre of detailed viticultural study, with vineyards dubbed the country’s Grand Crus. Nicola’s grandson, Nicolás, is one of the most decorated winemakers alive and has steered Argentinian winemaking up into the giddy altitudes that now sets it apart. The estate is currently run by his daughter Laura, who created the Catena Institute, developing Argentina’s sustainability code and collaborating with top universities around the world to get the best out of her own vineyards and, more broadly, to help Argentinian wines reach their full potential.Your visit
Inspired by Mayan temples, the pyramid-shaped winery is an attraction in itself, but the estate also offers three types of tour, which must be reserved. The ‘Catena Pyramid Visit’ introduces you to the wines via the vineyards and main barrel room. The ‘Renaissance of Malbec Visit’ is a deep dive into the Catena Institute’s vineyard work paired with wines, cheeses and charcuterie. And the ‘Adrianna Grand Cru Visit’ guides you through the country’s most famous vineyard before you taste wines from specific parcels of it directly from the barrels.
Work is also underway on a new project, turning the original cellars into a brandy distillery and lounge, along with a restaurant and tasting rooms exploring the art and science of winemaking through multi-sensory experiences including pairing sessions with poetry and music.The wines
You don’t know Argentinian Malbec until you’ve tasted Catena Zapata. Owing to the higher altitudes, theirs is floral, pretty and surprisingly light in colour. The estate also produces excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and a set of indigenous grape varieties, some in a natural style.
Dr Laura Zapata is globally recognized for her work as both an emergency doctor part-time in San Francisco and an ambassador for Argentinian wine. She collaborates with head winemaker Alejandro to create pure expressions of her family’s terroirs, right down to the smallest plots.