Earlier this week we reviewed a fabulous Malbec from a top winery, (see “Achaval-Ferrer…”) to kick-start #MalbecWorldDay and to honor the great wines of Argentina.  Today we pay tribute to another legend, Nicolás Catena, who many consider as one of the founding fathers of Malbec as we know it.  His family’s wines have received the highest accolades and continue to show consistency and build world awareness of the wines of Argentina.  In 2001, their signature wine, Nicolás Catena Zapata (1997), was compared in blind tastings in both the USA and Europe against the world’s leading wine estates (Château Haut-Brion, Latour, Solaia, Caymus, & Opus One) where it took home either 1st or 2nd prize in every tasting.  Now the family focusses most their efforts on producing some of the world’s most delicious and accessible Malbec.  Many of their bottlings are a blend of their top production from 4 vineyards in the high-altitude micro-climate of Mendoza.  The 2009 vintage (one of region’s best years), produced a consistent concentration of fruit that enabled bottling at various price ranges with exciting quality.  The Catena Malbec, their entry-level wine, has earned high honors, making the prestigious Wine Spectator Top 100 list twice in the last 4 years (2007 & 2009 vintages), Decanter magazine’s Man of the Year in 2009 (Nicolás Catena), and earning 90+ points from all recognized critics in every single vintage released since its inception in 2001.

The ’09 vintage stains the glass with purple, and black tones, dark fruit aromas, and hits your palate with dark chocolate, just a hint of pepper, and a satin finish.  It’s drinking beautifully now.  Many of the Catena wines are ready to drink upon release, and this one fits the mold of everything the family, terroir, and country represent.  With approximately 75,000 cases imported to the USA, combined with a price tag of $24, this wine is our top selection for Malbec World Day.  Salud! –JT

2009 CATENA Malbec, Argentina


Related scores: WS-91 (#58 on Top 100 list of 2011)

Market Price: $24

Recommended pairings:

Food – Roast Turkey with Apple & Currant Stuffing,1839,147171-241205,00.html

Other recommended Malbecs on our list:

BODEGA NORTON Malbec Mendoza Riserva 2010, $18 (#51 on WS Top 100 of 2012)


ACHÁVAL-FERRER Malbec Mendoza 2011, $20


BODEGA COLOMÉ Estate Malbec 2010, $30


Visit these websites to learn more about Malbec, the wines of Argentina, and how you can get involved in today’s Malbec World Day with events near you.