Armed with the vision of elevating Catena and Argentine wines to stand with the best in the world, Catena’s high standard of excellence has brought them much acclaim over the years, for their wines and for their work. Most recently, Nicolás Catena Zapata was the recipient of Wine Enthusiast’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021, while his daughter Laura Catena, fourth generation vintner, as well as physician and author, has been called “the face of Argentine wine” and was awarded 2022 Woman of the Year by the Drinks Business.
It is this same dedication and passion the Catena family and team have brought to Domaine Nico, the world’s first extreme high altitude single parcel Pinot Noirs.
Domaine Nico was born from the Catena family’s affinity to the great wines of Burgundy and was inspired by Laura’s teenage years in France where she first learned of regionality. The journey began in the early 1990’s when Nicolás planted Pinot Noir Dijon clones in the high-altitude vineyards in Mendoza, located in three different areas in Tupungato in the Uco Valley.
In 2008, the Domaine Nico project officially started. “We didn’t speak the Pinot Noir language and we had to learn it,” Laura pointed out in an interview. Unlike Burgundians, they didn’t have the long history of how Pinot Noir performs in Mendoza. In the pursuit of excellence and to “catch up” she and her team extensively researched and studied the soils and microbial life of these sites for years, with the same focus and intensity they dedicated to Malbec for which they’re recognized.
Equipped with their discoveries and countless micro vinifications to define parcels and winemaking methods, they released the first bottlings in 2016. Today, there are five different parcels of Pinot Noir coming from vineyards that range in elevation from 1120-1500 metres (3675-4921 ft) above sea level: Grand Mère and Grand Père in Villa Bastías, Histoire d’A and La Savante in Gualtallary, and Le Paradis in Gualtallary Alto. The resulting Pinot Noirs are elegant and beautifully achieve the goal of giving voice to the unique high altitude terriors of the Uco valley.
The labels pay homage to one of Burgundy’s most famous estates and the Catena family. Domaine Nico is named after Laura’s youngest daughter Nicola, whose nickname is Nico. Nicola is named after Laura’s great grandfather who founded Bodega Catena Zapata in 1902.