Avon’s vin48 hosts Argentinian wine tasting | VailDaily.com

Avon’s vin48 hosts Argentinian wine tasting

Daily staff report
Pablo Piccolo
Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

What: Argentinian wine tasting with Pablo Piccolo of Bodega Catena Zapata.

where: Vin48 loft, Avon.

When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today.

Cost: $30, includes wine tasting and appetizers.

More information: RSVP to 970-748-WINE.

Wines to be poured:

• Catena Alta Chard

• Catena Adrianna White Stones Chardonnay

• Catena Nicassia Malbec

• Catena Adrianna Malbec

• Catena Nicolas Catena Zapata

AVON — Wine export manager Pablo Piccolo, of Bodega Catena Zapata, will pour five of the most sought-after Argentine wines at vin48 in Avon Tuesday.

“We are looking forward to a great tasting with Argetina’s first family of wine,” said Greg Eynon, wine director and co-owner of vin48.

Charles Hays, vin48’s chef and co-owner, will pair the wines with Argetine-inspired appetizers in the restaurant’s loft above the wine bar.

Piccolo will be on hand to discuss Catena wines. A native of Mandoza, Picollo has been working with Catena Zapata since 2011.

Nicolas Catena took 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, Catena left Argentina to become a visiting professor of economics at the University of California, at Berkeley. The political and economic situation in Argentina was difficult, with a military government that had just declared war on the United Kingdom and inflation rates of more than 1,000 percent per year.

California, and especially Napa Valley, were an inspiration to Catena and his wife, Elena, who spent weekends visiting the area with their youngest daughter Adrianna in a backpack. Until that time, no one in the new world had dreamed of rivaling France.

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 Catena was told by many of his colleagues in Argentina that he was “completamente loco,” or completely crazy.

But Catena is not someone to be easily discouraged. During the 1980s, he set out to discover the best places to plant vineyards in Mendoza. When recently asked why he decided to plant Chardonnay and Malbec in Gualtallary, at almost 5,000 feet elevation, he answered, “I felt that the only way we would make a leap in quality would be by pushing the limits of vine cultivation, by taking risks.”

Ever since, the winery has flourished under that mentality. In 2001, Catena’s daughter, Laura, took over the research and 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 research and development project. She immediately set about working with the high-altitude Malbec that her father had planted. She was sure this Argentine varietal, planted in these extreme microclimates, would yield something truly special.

Her determination to produce a world-class Malbec led her and the viticultural team to conduct an actual plant by plant selection of the top Malbec lots in the high altitude vineyards. These Zapata plants were managed and harvested separately to isolate their incredible potential.

In 2004, this program produced such extraordinary fruit that the winemaking team decided to ferment the fruit directly in new oak barrels. The result were three new Malbecs, which show the quality of the family’s high altitude Malbec vineyards.

Taste two of the winery’s Malbecs — Catena Nicassia Malbec and Catena Adrianna Malbec — along with three other wines from the vineyard, at vin48 in Avon Tuesday evening.

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