Wine critic Robert Parker's Buying Guide has called Catena Zapata "the Argentine winery of reference - the standard of excellence for comparing all others." There are several other great Argentine wineries - Bramare, Achaval-Ferrer, Colome, and Susana Balbo among my favorites. But Catena, often noted for its high-end wines, shows with this 2010 La Consulta what it can do with a middle-tier version of malbec, Argentina's signature red. With an $8 discount in Pennsylvania, it's one of the better $16 red-meat wines I've tasted in a while. Unlike Catena's classic malbec, a blend of six vineyards, this much smaller bottling comes from the single appellation of La Consulta, a high-altitude Uco Valley region in the shadow of the San Jose volcano. Expect that typical deep purple malbec juice, but with good red fruit acidity and a grind of pepper and tobacco spice that makes it an ideal pairing with grilled steak or lamb.
- Craig LaBan
Catena Malbec La Consulta Mendoza 2010, $15.99 (code 33097)