2011 Tikal Malbec Natural Mendoza
Expert Rating
RP 91 points
(Read the full review below)
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Tikal Vineyards and Nicolás Catena 2011 Catena Tikal "Natural"

You may remember the story. In the late 1960s, Nicolás Catena, an economics doctoral student at Berkeley, answered a call from his winegrowing father. Young Catena listened as his dad described the sorry state of the local economy, how the family had little hope of selling their harvest for enough to cover the farming costs.

Nicolás' father was agitated, but the economist was cold as ice. "Leave the fruit on the vine. Walk away. Shut it down." While Señor Catena knew his son was correct, he refused to pull the plug. The Catena vineyard crew harvested anyway, making for a sea of red ink.

When Nicolás returned home the following year, he arrived with a plan, one that would ultimately revolutionize grape-growing in Mendoza. "If we are to survive, we must export," Nicolás proclaimed. "We need to compete with the French and the Italians. But we need to be better — and we need to do it for less!"

Since the early 1990s the Catenas have been doing just that. While the family's $100/bottle, 98-point Catena Zapata reds have set the bar by which the rest of Mendoza is measured, Nicolas' commitment to "over-delivering for less" remains the rallying cry at Tikal — never more so than with the release of the stunning 2011 "Natural."

Steve Tanzer's International Wine Cellar described this one as a "serious bottle for the price." Robert Parker's Wine Advocate called it "utterly seductive" before tacking on 91 points. The 2011 Catena Tikal Natural is a masterpiece. Deep purple/black to the rim, infused with explosive aromas of black fruit and mountain blueberries. Like all of Catena's top Malbecs, this one is almost Napa-like in its intensity. Big, bold and powerful on the attack, packed with crushed-black-fruit preserves, finishing smooth, sleek and polished. Drink now-2018.

Tasting Notes

2011 Tikal Natural Red Wine Mendoza
"Aged for ten months in 80% French and 20% American oak of which 10% is new. It has a vibrant, almost life-affirming bouquet of lifted dark cherries, blueberry, soy and minerals that is beautifully defined. The palate is sensual and caressing on the entry, setting you up for its silky tannins, pure macerated dark cherries and blueberry fruit struck through by a keen thread of acidity. Utterly seductive! Drink now-2017."
91 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate


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