A few new arrivals

  • Bright and direct sunlight: the Catena family of Argentina pioneered high-altitude vineyards (Photograph submitted)

    Bright and direct sunlight: the Catena family of Argentina pioneered high-altitude vineyards (Photograph submitted)

  • Storage art: barrels of wine in a cellar at the Catena winery (Photograph courtesy Catena.com)

    Storage art: barrels of wine in a cellar at the Catena winery (Photograph courtesy Catena.com)


The Catena family of Argentina pioneered high-altitude vineyards that are known for their bright and direct sunlight day after day as well as their very cool nights. This wide diurnal temperature variation is so important for developing complex grapes. The family have historic vineyards in an area known as San Carlos in the foothills of the towering Andes.

Catena San Carlos 2017 Cabernet Franc is now in stock and I have always been a fan of this lesser know cabernet grape. The chances are that you have had it if you enjoy bordeaux reds, as it is added to the blend for colour, finesse and perfume.

If you have enjoyed chinon from the Loire Valley you have had cabernet franc. This one from Catena is purple in colour with red ruby tones. On the nose you will find spices and fresh herbs such as thyme and rosemary, red berries, cassis and raspberries followed by layers of cedar. So typical of Argentina, this wine is very flavourful and begs to be paired with Mexican dishes, tomato-based pasta and even dark chocolate or a cheese plate. Parker rates it 90 points. Stock #7111. $24.

I am sure it is fair to say that Catena Malbec is the most asked for Argentine wine in Bermuda and we list them from $23.50 to $251.60 and now we are introducing a new one at $23.50 with quite remarkable reviews. Catena 2017 Paraje Altamira Malbec received a 93/100 from writer Tim Atkin and this: “In the 1950s Don Domingo Catena began sourcing Malbec from the vineyards of Altamira in the Uco Valley. The combination of intense sunlight and cool nights yields an elegant, mineral, slightly spicy Malbec with a deep texture and flavours.”

Robert Parker suggests that it will get even better with age, as a rating of 92+ indicates. He writes of “more finesse and subtleness, harmony, balance and elegance”. Stock #7112. $23.50.

In case you were wondering, the one that we list for $251.60, is the rare Nicolas Catena Zapata Adrianna Mundas Bacillus Vineyard 2015 Malbec that rates 98 from Suckling, 97 from Decanter and 96 from Parker. It is a world classic by any standard. Stock #7145.

Another Southern Hemisphere wine has just made it here from Australia and it is the Penfolds Bin #311 2017 Chardonnay. The winemaker’s mantra is to always go to where the fruit grows in a way to best suit their style and for this they travel to the Adelaide Hills, Tasmania and Tumbarumba.

The winery describes it in this way: “Light-straw colour, fresh and inviting — completed by yeast lees-derived nougat and ground pistachio/almond/roasted chestnut. Scents of deconstructed crème brûlée, enhanced by ripe white nectarine and peach fruits. A liberal sprinkle of crushed rock/pebble dust (quartz and limestone).”

Critic James Suckling finds nectarines, papaya, guava, white and yellow peaches and a whiff of lemon that add up to an impressive 93/100.

Jeb Dunnoch is close at 92 points and calls it “a complete, incredibly high-quality white from this terrific producer”. For me, the best halibut or Bermuda rockfish demands such a wine. Stock #7234. $48.

Next we travel to the Silverado Trail that weaves its way along the eastern side of Napa Valley and arrive at Rutherford Ranch where they are committed to 100 per cent sustainable viticulture. This winery is new for us. We seem to be on a run here with wines that rate above 90 points, which is the score that starts awards of a gold medal in competitions.

In fact Suckling rates another of our new arrivals 93/100 and describes the 85 per cent cabernet sauvignon blended with Malbec, petit sirah and petit verdot thusly: “This is already juicy and delicious with plums, dried fruit and hints of figs. Some chocolate and walnut undertones. Medium to full body, creamy-textured tannins and a flavourful finish. Drink or hold.”

The wine is Rutherford Ranch 2016 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. I believe that you will detect the velvety mouth feel and delicious Bing cherry that suggests this beautiful area for the world’s most popular red wine grape. Stock #6620. $42.

Although there are delightful cabernet sauvignons from California, this grape does take second place in acreage as chardonnay tops the list in the Golden State.

We also have Rutherford Ranch 2017 Chardonnay with its comforting notes of baked apple pie with toasted oak notes of caramel and spice. It opens up to reveal mineral and fruity aromas including ripe Asian pear, dried apricot and white peach. It is a full-bodied wine with bright acidity and suffusing oak flavours show as vanilla and sweet oak through to the palate. Finishes with a hint of lemon meringue pie. Stock #6623. $29.80.

We complete the selections with Rutherford Ranch 2018 Sauvignon Blanc and its bright aromas of fresh citrus with tropical guava and passion fruit. You will also discover key lime and grapefruit with a round texture and refreshingly crisp finish. It is well up there score-wise with 91 from James Suckling who finds “a floral nose that reminds me of citrus blossom and acacia flowers”. Stock #6621. $27.85.

Now that our Burrows Lightbourn and Discovery stores are back open, you are now able to stop in and see that we still have the usual selections but we have also added quite a bit more.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm

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Published Jul 10, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 10, 2020 at 7:35 am)

A few new arrivals

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