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Friday, April 27, 2007

Catena Alta Malbec 2003, way too young to be 'Alta'

Never underestimate a young Malbec from a top tier producer. Foreplay aside, the wine spent 2-3 hours in a decanter, w/ plenty of aeration and outside agitation. Mendoza Malbec seem to have such a gorgeous bright purple hue, not only saturated but w/ an almost fluorescence in the shade that I don't often seen replicated by other varietals. I almost never wax on about color, so that should suffice to say I find it uniquely attractive.

What an exhaustingly backward wine! My experiences w/ young Achaval Ferrer malbec is not only duplicated by the Catena, but perhaps surpassed by this vintage. The aromatics are staggeringly reserved, a bevy of lead pencil shavings barely give way to hints of cocoa, plum preserve, and liquefied blueberry notes that are if they are lurking incognito.

The palate was a tad less of a tease, but simply struggled to delineate themselves throughout the evening. There is an unmistakable attractive purity to this wine, irrespective of it's dramatically unevolved nature. The last sip was certainly the best, as toasty purple fruits very slowly began to harmonize amidst their regal tannins.

If one thing about my impression of this wine leaves a resounding thud, I hope for it to be an adjustment of future drinking windows for wines of this nature. I have no shame in drinking wines on the younger side of the spectrum, but this puppy is simply unjustified in being hatched at such an age. If we learned anything from wines like the '77 Wienart Malbec, it's that they have an endowed ability to mature slowly, and well. These are old vine parcels that have been cultivated for well over a century...they merit respect when considering what time they should be popped.

Try again in 2010, w/ a decant...but I can't imagine it's maturity plateau being hit for another decade- and this wine aint goin' anywhere for a long time once it's mature. Friggin' malbec!


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