26 Nov Argentina’s Next Big Thing: Cab. Franc!
The Catena Zapata family is indisputably one of the big names in quality Argentine wine. And the Gran Enemigo is an exciting new project from one of Catena’s winemakers, Alejandro Vigil. We think Cabernet Franc is the “next big thing” in Argentine wine. We are seeing more and more of these incredible quality Cabernet Francs popping into the market and they outclass the better-known Malbecs. This is your chance to jump on the Cab Franc train before it’s too crowded and the wines become impossible to get. We’re also highlighting a stunning Chardonnay, also from the Catena Zapata family. It’s somewhere between California and Burgundy in character, with great balance and lots of character.
“Alejandro Vigil continues producing amazing wines under the brand El Enemigo (the enemy), including some of the best Cabernet Franc produced in Argentina.”
The Wine Advocate
2011 Gran Enemigo Gualtallary Cabernet Franc (made by Catena Zapata winemaker Alejandro Vigil)
On Sale $114.99
The 2010 was a hard act to follow, and the 2011 Gran Enemigo Gualtallary Single Vineyard had to fulfill great expectations. There is less color in this 2011 (I popped a bottle of the 2010 for comparison) and more notes reminiscent of Cabernet Franc (Alejandro Vigil harvested even earlier in 2010), because it is mostly Cabernet Franc from a very chalky vineyard in Gualtallary at 1,430 meters altitude that fermented together with a small percentage of Malbec. 50% of the volume was fermented with destemmed Cabernet Franc and full-cluster Malbec. The grapes from the most calcareous soils underwent a carbonic maceration in small bins, and after one week they are pressed and the juice finishes fermenting as if it were a white wine. The texture is very fine and the acidity seems like if it had a timer and shoots a second later than you expect it, creating a small explosion in your taste buds. That provides a very long aftertaste and almost citric flavors with a mineral, almost salty finish. At the end of the day this feels lighter but at the same time more complex than the 2010. If you want to understand what Gualtallary can do, find a bottle of this wine. It’s drinkable now, but it should have a long life in bottle. At this quality level the price seems too good to be true. Unfortunately, only 3,400 bottles were produced.
98 Points, The Wine Advocate
2014 Catena Cabernet Franc, San Carlos, Argentina
On Sale $22.99
(from a 1999 planting): Enticing aromatic lift to the aromas of purple fruits, violet and brown spices. Suaver than the Agrelo Cabernet Sauvignon, offering exhilarating cut and penetration and an ideal balance between sweetness and suppleness of fruit and acidity. Savory, plush and ripe for all its energy. Finishes with big but thoroughly ripe, dusty tannins and excellent breadth and length. Terrific berry intensity here.
91 Points, Stephen Tanzer
2013 Catena Zapata “White Stones” Chardonnay
On Sale $86.99
The 2013 White Stones Chardonnay had penetrating balsamic aromas that seemed to enter the nostrils leaving a trail of citric and herbal aromas, with great freshness, as it felt almost effervescent. The palate shows superb acidity, great clarity, purity and a mineral-driven finish. 1,600 bottles produced.
95 Points, The Wine Advocate