Wineries in Argentina are like the rock band The Yardbirds: the side projects are becoming more famous than the original band. Ever heard of the Yardbirds? No? Ever hear of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, or Jeff Beck? I hope so.
In this metaphor, Bodega Catena Zapata is the Yardbirds. And we replace viticulturists for guitarists: Jeff Mausbach and Alejandro Sejanovich. And they join up with other winemakers to make up a new supergroup: Jason Mabbett and Duncan Killiner. That is how Manos Negras (“Black Hands”) was formed. And that is an as good name for a Led Zeppelin cover band as I’ve ever heard.
To continue on this line of thought, these four winemakers have their hands in many side wine projects. Jelu is one of them, TintoNegro another. Anko and TeHo are two others. The list goes on and on and on. The connective tissue with all these wines and winemakers is the high level of quality. Also, these wines are not connected to any specific winemaking facility: This is how the sharing economy works in the wine trade.
Let’s talk about this Malbec. Grown in Patagonia, this is a serious and finely tuned botting. It is a far cry from the “Blueberries and Milk Chocolate” Malbecs we often get out of Mendoza. The aromas are of red fruit and toasted mint. Medium-bodied, the wine is lush but mineral-edged, and savory notes are balanced with good structure. The mid-palate moved towards forest floor notes, but delicious blueberry and wood smoke show up in the finish.
Rock on, Dark Finger!