When your dad is Nicolas Catena, the grandfather of Argentinian wine and the most respected man in the industry, it’s easy to get a leg up and easily establish your own brand. Just slap the family name on the label.
But Ernesto Catena didn’t want people to buy his wine just because his last name was Catena– he wanted them to buy a wine they thought was truly great – even beautiful. So he started his winery as a clandestine project and kept almost every detail secret from prying eyes.
Sure, he was still trained by the best winemaker in the country, with all the family secrets passed down and with extra care and love given to his sons in their tours of the vineyards. But Ernesto is an artist– so it was important that he do his own thing, and above all else to do it for its own sake, its own inherent beauty.
Alma Negra or “black soul” was started like all great artistic endeavors – by throwing out all the rules. Ernesto found inspiration in the farming traditions of the Mayans and Incas with pre-Colombian structures, and leveraged organic and biodynamic practices. He wouldn’t give the usual metrics not required by law. No wood treatment. No brix at harvest. No varietal breakdown.
He simply labeled the wines Misterioso and each vintage he created one cuvee of each color of his wines: red, white, brut rose, and, of course, orange. Each was blended the old fashion way– without measurements or numbers but rather with all the senses.
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94 Points, James Suckling
This shows a compressed palate of blackberries and licorice with
hints of currants. Full-bodied. Svelte. So delicious to drink now,
but will improve with age. Cabernet franc, bonarda and malbec.
Enjoy now or hold in your cellar.
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