The Perfect Wine From Argentina
Adrianna Vineyard Mundus Bacillus Terrae 2019 Malbec (Photo: Catena Zapata)

Since 2020, Inside Bordeaux by accomplished wine expert Jane Anson has published 'The September Releases' international wine-tasting report which scores the many wines presented at the La Place de Bordeaux marketplace in France. September is the month that usually sees the release of the latest vintages from some of the globe's most sought-after regions and the marketplace is where the wine-tasting report is compiled. Once complete, the publishing of the report introduces the world to the best varietals of the year, making it a fixture in the global wine calendar. Included in the list of must-have wines for 2022 is the Adrianna Vineyard Mundus Bacillus Terrae 2019 Malbec by Bodega Catena Zapata. Improving on its 2021 performance, where the 2018 vintage received a score of 98 points, placing amongst the top five, the 2019 vintage was awarded an extremely rare, perfect score of 100 points at this year's edition of the La Place de Bordeaux marketplace.

Originally, La Place de Bordeaux was used to sell wines produced in Bordeaux around the world via a network of over 300 négociants (French for wholesaler); however, over the last two decades it has grown to include wines from over 30 regions globally. Whilst Bordeaux En Primeur (which allows negociants to buy wines before they are bottled and released) remains the major event in the calendar, the September releases have become an important fixture, with a growing number of iconic wines around the world garnering more and more attention. This trend to include international wines has seen annual growth ever since the first non-Bordeaux wine, a joint venture between the late Philippine de Rothschild of Château Mouton-Rothschild and Chile's Concha y Toro, was offered through La Place de Bordeaux in 1998. The marketplace is described as the best wine distribution system in the world where a producer can release their product at 10am and sell their entire production to their customers around the world in just a few hours.

Originating from Bodega Catena Zapata's Adrianna Vineyard in the high-altitude Tupungato region of Mendoza, the first vintage of this label was produced in 2011. The wine, which is 100 per cent Malbec, has a really deep, decadent red, showing incredibly rich black soil, black olives and violets. It has a full body and rich tannins that exude power and intensity with notes of crushed raspberries, tobacco, fresh flowers, salty crackers, oyster shell. The 2019 Adrianna Vineyard Mundus Bacillus Terrae Malbec reflects a very young, tender wine that is vibrant, lively and surprisingly fresh. Its weight, texture and acidity are all perfectly balanced, placing it among the finest vintages for the Mundus Bacillus Terrae. This wine, which spent 18 months in French oak and filled 7,400 bottles in November 2019, is best enjoyed as of 2024.

Adrianna vineyard, named for the youngest daughter of Nicolas Catena Zapata, includes the 'mundus bacillus terrae', a parcel of Malbec vines within the 1.4 hectares of the estate from which this wine is exclusively produced. With marine deposits that covered the region millions of years ago filling the soil along with scattered limestone, the name mundus bacillus terrae (or 'elegant microbes of the earth') pays homage to the rhizobacteria that live in symbiosis with the vines at high altitude. These limestone layers are well-drained and particularly rich in rhizobacteria, which are the microorganisms that help vine roots withstand stress and absorb nutrients. The resulting wines produced from this parcel possess a uniqueness, both in terms of style and its complexity as a variety.

Bodega Catena Zapata has been one of Argentina's high-altitude Malbec pioneers ever since their winemaking journey began in 1902. Since then, Nicolas Catena, a third-generation family vintner became one of the first to see the potential of Mendoza's mountain vineyards for producing high-quality Malbec and in 1994, was the first Argentine to export a world-class bottling of the grape under the Catena label. Today, he is joined by his daughter, Dr Laura Catena, along with oenologist and head winemaker Alejandro Vigil, in their relentless pursuit of world-class quality wine from the family's high altitude vineyards. It is this award-winning team, through their extensive work in introducing Malbec and other varietal plant selections, as well as soil and climate analysis combined with sustainable practices throughout Mendoza, that has established Bodega Catena Zapata as a global force.

The 100-point Adrianna Vineyard Mundus Bacillus Terrae 2019 Malbec was hailed as one of the most exciting wines of the September releases that capture the progress and interest around the terroir in the Argentine wine scene. It is powerful and full of character, translating the idea of minerality that is much discussed in the wine industry while representing a combination of its soil, year and interpretation of its alluvial landscape.

Bodega Catena Zapata winery at sunset (Photo: Catena Zapata)
Winter at Bodega Catena Zapata (Photo: Catena Zapata)
Adrianna Vineyard in Tupungato (Photo: Catena Zapata)
Adrianna Vineyard Mundus Bacillus Terrae 2019 Malbec (Photo: Catena Zapata)
Wines in oak at Bodega Catena Zapata (Photo: Catena Zapata)
Adrianna Vineyard Mundus Bacillus Terrae 2019 Malbec (left) and The Nicolás Catena Zapata Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec Red Blend (Photo: Catena Zapata)
The entrance sign at Bodega Catena Zapata (Photo: Catena Zapata)
An overhead shot of the vineyards at Bodega Catena Zapata (Photo: Catena Zapata)
Bodega Catena Zapata at night (Photo: Catena Zapata)
The entrance to Adrianna vineyard, as seen in the winter (Photo: Catena Zapata)
The entrance sign at Adrianna vineyards in Mendoza (Photo: Catena Zapata)
An overhead daytime shot of Bodega Catena Zapata (Photo: Catena Zapata)
The stunning Andes Mountains and the vineyards at Bodega Catena Zapata (Photo: Catena Zapata)

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