2011 Tikal Patriota Mendoza
Expert Rating
RP 92 points
(Read the full review below)
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Nicolas Catena & Tikal Vineyards Parker's 92-Point 2011 Catena "Patriota"

In the mid-1960s, Domingo Catena was sitting in his study in Mendoza doing the math. All the ink was red. He didn't need his Ph.D son, Nicolas, to tell him that the cost of picking his Malbec vineyards was greater than what he could fetch for the grapes at market. Nevertheless, he picked up the phone and called his son, hoping the Berkeley economist could come up with different numbers.

No such luck. Nicolas Catena listened to his father's dilemma, and then coldly cut to the chase. "It's easy. Walk away. Shut the place down," the younger Catena advised. "It doesn't add up." Domingo Catena appreciated his son's advice, but refused to follow it. The Catenas harvested -- and lost their shirts.

A few years later, when Nicolas left his post in the Bay Area and returned to Mendoza, he hadn't forgotten his father's phone call or the family business's unstemmed tide of red ink. Having reasoned through the problem in Berkeley, young Catena was resolute on how to return the estate to the black.

There was no future in farming table grapes, he insisted, not with the caprice of the local grape market and the rising cost of farming. Either the family would invest in the vines and the cellar -- farming for quality not quantity, focusing marketing efforts on the export market -- or he was heading back to the Bay Area to pursue a career in teaching.

Over the next 40 years, Catena would spearhead one of the greatest winemaking turnarounds of the century, catapulting Mendoza's Malbec into the limelight, carving out highbrow shelf space in every major market in the world.

In the Wine Advocate's exhaustive end-of-year report, Parker published an Argentine honor roll, for the first time focusing a critical spotlight on the greatest estates of Mendoza. On the high end, it would be Nicolas's 98-point, $100/bottle Catena Zapata -- the Malbec by which all others are measured -- that stole the show. As for Malbec bargain hunters, again Catena came out on top with one of Parker's Top Ten Argentine bargains -- the stunning 5-star Tikal "Patriota."

The absolutely exquisite 2011 Tikal "Patriota" is a deep, dark, full-throttle blend of 60% Malbec and 40% old-vine indigenous Bonarda. For one of Mendoza's most extraordinary vintages since the turn of the century, the Wine Advocate described it tasting of "luscious black fruit infused with minerals and a touch of graphite," before lobbing on 92 points, the highest score ever accorded to "Patriota." Drink now, if you must, or lay this gorgeous Catena blend down for 5-6 years.

$25 on release. The last 100 cases have just been earmarked for WineAccess, still at an irresistible $16.99. Not to be missed by Napa Valley bargain hunters, or Malbec collectors alike. Shipping included on 6.

Tasting Notes

2011 Tikal Patriota Mendoza
"The 2011 Tikal Patriota is a blend of 60% Malbec and 40% Bonarda from Vista Flores and La Vendimia from 14-year-old vines. It is raised in French and American oak for 12 months (30% new.) It has a confident, outgoing bouquet of raspberries and wild strawberry complemented by hints of marmalade and quince. The palate is medium-bodied with luscious black fruit infused with minerals and a touch of graphite. It is supremely harmonious and seductive with filigree tannins on the refined finish. Wonderful. Drink now-2017."
92 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate


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