Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard River Stones Malbec 2019
The old River Stones has seen its name simplified to 2019 Adrianna Vineyard River. This is an exceptional vintage for this bottling, from a very stony part of the large Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary, close to the dry river. It's the equivalent to the White Stones white, with a north-facing exposure, the warmer exposure, which in cooler years like 2019 works nicely. The wine has harmony and subtleness, insinuating violets and wet stones, with a rare combination of power and elegance, with minerality and spice, precise, focused and harmonious. The tannins are abundant but very fine and ripe with a chalky sensation in the finish. It has 13.8% alcohol and very good freshness, acidity and healthy parameters. 5,520 bottles were filled in December 2020. I also tasted the 2017, 2015 and 2012 of this wine, and they are developing slowly. The 2017 has very strong notes of thyme and aromatic herbs; 2015 has nuances of paprika and is ripe and powerful; and the 2012, which I had never tasted before, is serious, reaching its plateau and showing a moment of transition from barrel to foudres.
The 2019 Malbec Adrianna Vineyard River Stone comes from a parcel off the Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary, planted at an altitude of 4,400 feet in a dried river bed. Aged for 20 months in new and used French barrels, it is a rich purple in the glass thanks to the intense sunlight. The nose offers plum, sour cherry and blueberry with herbs, lavender, hints of balsam and oaky aromas such as cedar and sandalwood. The compact palate has fine, taut tannins; more lean than muscular overall. This is a balanced and remarkably energetic high-altitude wine, all solar energy, concentrated soils and the untrammeled freshness that comes with a cool region.