The grapes for Catena Alta Chardonnay come from a select block of Adrianna vineyard, Catena's premier Chardonnay vineyard. At 1,500m (5,000') elevation, the Adrianna vineyard experiences an even greater thermal amplitude than the La Pirámide vineyard, with very cool nights during ripening. The Catena Alta block has historically provided the most balanced and uniform yields. These carefully chosen vines undergo a detailed thinning process aimed at leaving only select, isolated clusters.
Picked in the cool, early morning hours, the grapes for Catena Alta Chardonnay are whole cluster pressed. The juice is all barrel fermented, and the wine spends a total of 14 months in 100% new François Fréres French oak. The result is a wine full of fresh fruit, with the added nuances of malolactic and oak flavors.
The 1999 Catena Alta Chardonnay has an intense golden yellow color with green tones. The nose is full of citric and white stone fruit aromas laced with honey and toast. The wine is soft and round on the palate, with great harmony and equilibrium between the rich fruit and the light notes of vanilla and spice. Catena Alta Chardonnay will only be made in exceptional vintage years.
100% Chardonnay sourced from the sandy soil of Lot 1 in the Adrianna vineyard, the first vintage to incorporate this unique high altitude vineyard site. The 1999 growing season in Adrianna vineyard presented the typically cool temperatures of this microclimate. Average temperatures for the month prior to ripening were only 18.1° C with very cool nights dropping on average to 11.7° C. These cooler temperatures allowed the Chardonnay grapes to develop ripe pear fruit flavors with delicate citrus and floral tones, strong mineral notes and excellent natural acidity. This vintage can be enjoyed now and will continue to improve over the next 5 to 7 years.