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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Catena Zapata Visit


I felt so lucky to get the sky to cooperate, it was amazing, I took 36 photos and stitched them together to get this final image.


Let's start with a small introduction that I took from Catena Zapata website ,
 
Catena Zapata story started when Nicola Catena sailed from Italy to Argentina in 1898, Nicola planted is first Malbec vineyard in 1902! Malbec had been a blending grape in Bordeaux. But Nicola suspected it would find its hidden splendour in the Argentine Andes. Domingo, his son, inherited that dream and took the family winery to the next level, becoming one of the largest vineyard holders in Mendoza.  

Domingo son’s Nicola has charted the family’s path to the new frontier of winemaking, drawing on lessons learned from the land and in the classroom, then applying his education to dare to challenge the conventional wisdom.

Taking the reigns of the family vineyards and wineries in the mid 1960s, he concentrated on expanding distribution throughout Argentina during years of turmoil in the 1970s. But in the early 1980s, Nicolás left Argentina to become a visiting professor of economics at the University of California, on the world-renowned campus at Berkeley. 

Nicolás Catena returned to Mendoza with a vision in mind. From one day to the other, he sold his table wine producing company, keeping only Bodegas Esmeralda, the fine wine branch of the family business. At that time Argentina was perceived as a bulk wine producer and Nicolás was told by many of his colleagues in Argentina that he was “completamente loco” (completely crazy).

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. Laura was sure that this Argentine varietal, planted in these extreme microclimates, would yield somehting truly special.

In 2004 this program produced such extraordinary fruit that the winemakeing team decided to ferment the fruit directly in new oak barrels. The result were three spectacular new Malbecs which showed the incredible quality of the family's high altitude Malbec vineyards:


  • Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard Malbec - a selection of the best plants from Lot 1 of the Nicasia Vineyard, located at an elevation of 3593 ft in the far southerly Altamira in La Consulta district of San Carlos.

  • Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard - a selection of the best plants from Lots 3 & 9 of the Adrianna Vineyard, located at an elevation of 4757 ft in the Gualtallary district of Tupungato.

  • Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino - a selection of the best plants from Lots 3 & 9 of the Adrianna Vineyard and Lot 1 of the Nicasia Vineyard.

I was very excited when I saw the building, shaped like a Mayan pyramid it's so unique and beautiful.

Driving toward Catena Zapata

When we got out of the car, it was spectacular, I couldn’t believe my eyes, the cloud formations were so amazing, I decided to do a panoramic image, I putted  my camera on a tripod and took 36 photos to incorporate the full building with the foreground and the cloud formation, I stitched all of the images using Autopano software. Using that many images gave me a final image with a high resolution even if printed as large as 7 to 8 feet. 

I took 36 photos and stitched them together to get this final image

Has we got in the lobby we meet with our host Adriana, a great and knowledgeable guide.

We started the tour with my favorite room “The barrel room” it’s amazing to be able to taste fabulous wine that had age almost 24 months in oak, tasting wine directly from the  barrel it’s a must to do bucket list item and  we had the chance to taste the best of the best “Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard Malbec,  Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard and Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino”. 

After 24 months in oak that divine liquid will be bottled and will age another 2 years in the cellar.

The Barrel Room

The Barrel Room, I used my tripod and did a HDR using 5 shots that I process in Photomatix and Photoshop

Bucket list item!!! I used a Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT for this shot 

Bucket list item!!! I used a Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT for this shot  

  
Next we visited a cellar containing 10,000 bottles of Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2011. What a place, the perfect bunker!!!

The perfect bunker, 10,000 bottles of one of the finest Malbec, I used Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT for this shot

The perfect bunker, 10,000 bottles of one of the finest Malbec, I used Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT for this shot 

 The perfect bunker, 10,000 bottles of one of the finest Malbec, I used Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT for this shot
From there we stop in front of another room containing some of the world best bottles. These bottles are used to do blind tests for Catena Zapata Expert Tasting Team.

Finest bottles for around the world

Before going into the tasting room we had the chance to get to the roof top to enjoy the view of the vineyard and mountains.

View from the roof top

 View from the roof top

 View from the roof top

 The tasting was amazing, we tasted the finest bottles, started with my all time favorite an oaked Chardonnay , and this one was excellent, I have to admit that I am very picky when it comes to Chardonnay, and this one was one of the best I ever had, I had to buy a bottle!  

Next was the Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard Malbec 2010 and Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2010, not sure witch of the 2 I like the best, both are excellent, the finest Malbec I had the chance to taste.

The tasting room, very cosy!

Tasting the finest bottles

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2010, a label to remember!!!

Our host Adriana was passionate about wine making and very knowledgeable, she was very relax answering all of our questions, no rush, a great experience from a to z.  

I loved everything about the visit to Catena Zapata, one of  my dream would be to go back to do a photo shoot, the décor is so different that it would be the perfect place for a storyteller shooting. 

The fine details of the architecture would make this place a perfect set for a great story, photographic, or even as a movie, I know I have a lot of imagination, but this place gave me so many creative ideas, a lot of inspiration!!!

I love the architecture details!

Amazing Architecture

Amazing Architecture

Inspirational

Coming down!

I enjoy this tour from a to z!!!


All the photos were done using Canon 5D Markiii, Canon 24-105 zoom lens, some with a tripod and some with a Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT.

I like to take the time to thank my friend Jane McGillem that organized the tour, 

Cecilia Paulina López from the Hospitality Department, our guide Adriana and my friend Riyad Anabtawi for a memorable journee,"besitos a todos"

 





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