Catena's new wines made inroads for Argentine wine among British and American wine drinkers. One day, however, Nicolás Catena Zapata was having dinner with a famous Bordeaux winemaker, Jacques Lurton, who tasted the Catena wine and said: “Excellent red wine, it reminds me of the Languedoc.” It was not what Nicolás wanted to hear. Languedoc is a warm region. The implication was clear: if his wine was to rival the great wines of France he needed his vineyards to be in cooler regions. In other words, the Catena Family needed to respect the French obsession that relates quality with terroir.
When the Catenas decided to plant vineyards in the cooler areas of Mendoza, they basically had two options: either go south, in traditional areas like Maipú or Luján, or climb up the mountain. Nicolás's father, Domingo, had always warned about the threat of frost in the southern areas, so Nicolás chose to go upwards and plant at high altitude, in the region of Tupungato, at almost 5,000 feet elevation.