BODEGA CATENA ZAPATA
One of the most famous houses in Argentina, Catena was founded in the 19th century. The founder, Nicola Catena, traveled Italy to Argentina in 1898, celebrated leaving the famine in Europe for this plentiful new land by eating a piece of virtually raw steak for breakfast each morning. Best described as a tireless optimist, he firmly believed that he had found the promised land in Mendoza, where he planted his first Malbec vineyard in 1902. Malbec had been a blending grape in Bordeaux but he saw its potential in Mendoza.
Nicola’s son, Nicolaus, took over the winery in the 1960s but was faced with inflation and political turmoil in Argentina, so he took a job as a visiting economics professor at UC Berkeley. He then came back to Argentina and wanted to focus on the winery, deciding to plant Chardonnay and Malbec in Gualtallary, at almost 5,000 feet elevation. This was an unusual vineyard practice at the time but the risk paid off. In 2001 Nicolas' daughter Laura took over the Research & Development program at Bodega Catena Zapata. An Emergency Room physician with degrees from Harvard and Stanford, Laura brought a very strong science background to the family winery's R&D project. She immediately set about working with the high altitude Malbec that her father had planted and has achieved incredible success at the winery since taking over. Since then the Catena Familt has been producing benchmark wines from Mendoza and the latest releases are simply outstanding, further establishing the Catena name as a flagship from the region.