The 2016 Catena Alta Chardonnay was cropped from a cool El Niño year. It's fresh and elegant, with high acidity and moderate alcohol. The oak is almost imperceptible, as the wine is very intense and pungent. Eighty percent of the grapes come from Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary, and the rest come from the Domingo Vineyard in Viña Bastías, in Tupungato. It fermented in 225-liter oak barrels with wild yeasts, and only about 30% of the volume underwent malolactic fermentation. The aging lasted for 14 months and was in new, second and third use barriques. It has a dark golden color and an impressive nose with ripe yellow fruit and some notes of botrytis but with a completely dry palate. It's round, lush and exotic, with the grapes taken from deeper soils and slightly warmer parts of the Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary. It's quite marked by the oak, but it should evolve nicely and in a classical Burgundian way in bottle. 31,200 bottles were filled in July 2017.
92 points, Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate (Issue # 237 - Jun 2018)
The 2016 Chardonnay Catena Alta is a richer, full-bodied, toasty effort that has serious upfront appeal. This cuvée comes from the Adrianna and Domingo Vineyards and was barrel fermented, with only a portion going through malolactic fermentation. It spent 12-16 months in a mix of new and used barrel before bottling. Beautiful notes of caramelized apples, brioche, honeysuckle, and buttered tropical fruits all emerge from this nicely balanced, textured, and high-quality Chardonnay that opens up nicely with time in the glass. It’s terrific today and I suspect best enjoyed over the coming 2-4 years.
92 points, Jeb Dunnuck (Feb 2019)
Big and rich, filled with concentrated ripe white fruit and spice flavors that are loaded with lively minerality. Pastry notes linger on the spicy finish. Drink now through 2021. 2,600 cases imported.
91 points, Kim Marcus, Wine Spectator (Dec 2018)
Lovely pineapple and coconut nose. Ripe and supple with an attractively silky texture. Good length with some toasty notes at the finish. Drink or hold.
91 points, James Suckling (Apr 2018)
Captivating Chablis-like aromas of white peach, orange zest, minerals and flowers, plus a hint of resiny oak. There's an underlying thickness of texture and a restrained sweetness here but today the wine is classically dry and quite closed. The long, gripping finish suggests that this Chardonnay will benefit from a year or two of patience.
90 points, Stephen Tanzer, Vinous (Jul 2018)