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Uco Valley in Argentina is one of the most celebrated new world wine regions. This place has a charm like no other. It’s not only famous for its wonderful landscape overlooking the Andes mountain range, but also for its top-quality wines that have been highly awarded and are worthy competitors of some of the biggest names in the wine industry.
Inside Uco Valley, there’s a hidden gem, a place James Suckling refers to as “Mendoza’s Montrachet”, known locally as Gualtallary. Gualtallary is one of the highest points in the entire country and today, it is one of the most acclaimed regions in the world.
This outstanding region is home to Domaine Nico, a winery owned by no other than Laura Catena. Laura is a big name in the wine industry and one of the most celebrated vintners worldwide. She’s the current director of the family estate Catena Zapata, where she has made impressive improvements in all areas. The Washington Post said "Since Laura Catena took over the leadership of the winery and began to produce wines, Catena wines are increasingly unique and expressive. Catena Zapata wines are currently among the best in the world."
Laura was named one of the "Top 25 Wine Innovators" by Grape Collective, one of the “World’s Top Women Vintners” by The Oprah Magazine, and was called “the face of Argentinian wine”by Travel and Leisure.
Laura’s personal project is Domaine Nico. She has imprinted her heart and soul onto this winery. Laura says: "Domaine Nico was born from my obsession for Burgundy Pinot Noir. When I realized we could make a Pinot Noir with the classic floral aromas, minerality, and elegance, we began studying the flavors of high altitude Pinot Noir from Mendoza.”
In Domaine Nico, Laura works with winemaker Roy Urvieta and Alejandro Vigil to produce these masterpieces: The world’s first extreme high-altitude Pinot Noir parcela. An extremely rare location for Pinot Noir in the world. Laura states that “These parcels are just magical and the Pinot Noir is aromatic, different for each location. Exactly what I dreamt of for so many years.”
Histoire d’A comes from a play on the famous pornographic novel Histoire d’O by Pauline Réage, published in 1954. Laura references the “sexiness” of this wine by calling it after the racy novel. This wine is a truly sexy, unique Pinot Noir that will absolutely enchant you too!
Aging: 18 months in 20% New and 80% second-use French oak barrels.
Tasting Notes: 100% Pinot Noir. Spicy and herbal character, with cinnamon, black pepper, and clove. Medium bodied, beguiling as the nose draws you in. Moderate acidity with sweet and round tannins. Red fruit and the presence of herbs such as thyme, spices, and clove. Medium-high acidity. Low alcohol. Slightly mineral and vertical mouth. Integrated oak. Grainy tannins.
~95 Tim Atkin, #2 of the best 5 Pinot Noirs from Argentina, 2021 Report.
From Gualtallary, Uco Valley, the 2019 Pinot Noir Histoire d'A was 20% fermented in whole bunches and spent 18 months in 1/3 new barrels. Light, refined garnet in hue. The complex nose is shaped by the variety and the aging process, offering notes of rose, sour cherry and damp earth alongside cinnamon and nutmeg. Intense in flavor, the palate is expansive but also finely grained-and precise. An acidity lends vigor and lightness without affecting the silky, velvety feel. Ends with a lengthy finish in which the fruit takes charge, helped by the freshness. ~93 Vinous Media
Aromas of dried cherries, herbs, lemon zest, and porcini mushrooms. It’s medium-to-full-bodied with fine, tight-grained tannins. Concentrated and layered with lots of ripe, sun-kissed fruit and spice. Best in a big glass. Another year or two of bottle age will open this up. Best from 2022. ~93 James Suckling
I find some similarities in the 2019s with gourmand aromas, a little riper and showier than the 2018s. The 2019 Histoire d’A Pinot Noir was produced with grapes from a plot with shallow soils in the Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary, 1.75 hectares planted in 1998 with clone 115 at 1,350 meters in altitude. It fermented in 600-liter oak roll fermentors with 20% full clusters and matured in French oak barrels for 18 months. It's fresh and elegant but showier than the 2018, with notes of sour cherries and decayed violets. It's a fresh and elegant Pinot with very fine and chalky tannins. 4,560 bottles were filled in December 2020. ~93 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This comes from a small sector of the Adrianna vineyard, at about 1,350 meters above sea level, on loam soil with a layer of silt and sand and a subsoil of gravel covered with lime. The vines were planted in 1998. The wine has a marked herbal note, together with earthy notes, with fruity aromas in the background. The palate has the classic "chalk" tannins given by the limestone soils of that area in Gualtallary, the firm acidity of mountain wine, and the tension of the Pinots from Uco in one of its good moments. ~93 Descorchados
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