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  • Date publishedFriday, March 26, 2021

Catena Appellation San Carlos Cabernet Franc 2018 (Argentina) - Wine Review

Following up on the excellent 2018 Catena Lunlunta Old Vines Appellation Malbec, wine review is another lovely red wine from Catena's Appellation Series. This Cabernet Franc arrived at the LCBO earlier this month as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release where it was featured in the theme on Argentina - The Land of Extremes.

The Catena family have been making wines in Argentina since 1902, spanning four generations now and led today by the brilliant Dr. Laura Catena. Together, Catena family has revolutionized Argentine winemaking, turning the country into a world-class wine region. On top of introducing Malbec to Argentina and believing that it could stand among the best in the world, Catena also planted vines at very high altitudes where no one thought it would ripen. They have also studied in great detail the climate and soils in Mendoza and other parts of Argentina while continuing to learn through the Catena Institute of Wine that was established by Laura in 1995. Malbec is usually the first grape variety to come to mind when thinking of wines from Argentina, but there are other varieties that have found success in Argentina.

Cabernet Franc isn't widely planted in Argentina, with only 1,200 hectares vines that represent just 1% of all red varieties planted in the country. Originally from the humid climate of Bordeaux, the modern history of Cabernet Franc in Argentina began only in the 1990s and has quickly adapted to the high altitude vineyards and dry climate of Argentina. Cabernet Franc was intended to give strength to blends, as found in the 2017 Doña Paula 1350 that I enjoyed a couple of days ago. However, Cabernet Franc has shown that in can excel on its own.

This particular Cabernet Franc by Catena was grown in the family's historic vineyards in San Carlos at an high-altitude of 1,090 metres (3,576 feet) above sea level on soils that are alluvial in origin. This vineyard has loamy, sandy soil with thick calcareous layers with rounded rocks on the bottom. It is composed of 70% sand, 10% clay, and 20% silt. Because Cabernet Franc is a very transparent grape (figuratively speaking) as it expresses its terroir very well. Thus, Argentinean Cabernet Franc provides a combination of taste, sense of place, and character that makes it unique and like no other.

Catena Appellation San Carlos Cabernet Franc 2018 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

CATENA APPELLATION SAN CARLOS CABERNET FRANC 2018 - San Carlos, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#450106) (XD) - $19.95
The medium-high intensity aromatics are fresh and ripe with red and black fruits, currant, cassis, smoky mineral, and touches of leafy herb in a slightly reductive profile. It is medium-full bodied on the clean, ripe palate with spicy red fruits flavours joined by currant. stony-smoky mineral, and black pepper notes. It's well-balanced with fresh acidity and supple, textured tannins that have some tannic grip. Stony mineral notes linger on the long, textured finish. Enjoy this unique Cabernet Franc over the next 5+ years. Score: 91 pts

Other fabulous wines by Catena can be found at the LCBO, as well as through their Agent - Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.


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