Where to Find Catena Wines

By Dave McIntyre
Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Catena wines are priced in three series. Wines in the estate series, labeled simply Catena, range from $20 for chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon to $24 for malbec. The Catena Alta series ranges from $30 for the chardonnay to $50 for the cabernet sauvignon and malbec. The Catena Zapata line, priced at $120, consists of four wines: the Nicolás Catena Zapata, a blend of cabernet sauvignon and malbec; two single-vineyard malbecs: Adrianna Vineyard, at about 4,700 feet altitude, and Nicasia Vineyard, at nearly 3,900 feet; plus a new wine called Argentino, which is a blend of malbec from the Adrianna and Nicasia vineyards. (The latter two wines represent Catena's best experimentation with high-altitude viticulture, though grapes from these vineyards are also used in the Catena Alta series.)

The wines show an impressive continuity of style across the different lines, with the reds exhibiting soft, ripe fruit and velvety, almost disappearing tannins; you sense them more than you feel them, like a fleeting shadow that makes you think you're not alone. Since Laura Catena took over and put her name on the label, the estate series seems to have taken on a bigger, brasher expression. The Catena Zapata wines can stand proudly among the best in the world.

Catena wines are imported by Winebow, which distributes them in the District. According to Winebow, the estate and Alta series can be found at Ace Beverage, Calvert Woodley, Circle Wine & Liquor, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Rodman's, Paul's of Chevy Chase and all three D.C. Whole Foods Market locations. Catena wines are on the list at Bistro Francais, Blue Duck Tavern, Cafe Atlantico, Ceiba, Matchbox, Neyla, Old Ebbitt Grill, Vidalia and West End Bistro.

The Maryland distributor is Reliable-Churchill, and in that state the wines are available at Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Montgomery County liquor stores, and at Wells Discount Liquors and the Wine Source, both in Baltimore.

The Virginia distributor is Country Vintner; the wines are available at Out of Site Wines in Vienna and various Total Wine & More locations; they are on the list at Eventide Restaurant.

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