Domaine Nico, Pinot Noir "Histoire D'A"
Domaine Nico, Pinot Noir "Histoire D'A"

Domaine Nico, Pinot Noir "Histoire D'A"

Mendoza, Argentina 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$55.00

Domaine Nico, Pinot Noir "Histoire D'A"

Laura Catena is as close to Argentine wine royalty as it gets. Her day job is running Catena Zapata, a world-renowned winery that is generally considered to be the very best in Mendoza, but her passion project has its roots in France. Laura is out to prove that Argentina can produce Pinot Noir with as much elegance, complexity, and terroir transparency as anywhere on the planet, including Burgundy, whose wines are her inspiration. Skeptical? We were too until we tasted the masterful expression of this finicky grape that she crafted from a single vineyard called “Histoire D’A.” The combination of sappy fruit, flowers, earth, and a perfectly silky texture is as close to Pinot perfection as anything we’ve encountered in the New World, and easily goes toe-to-toe with excellent red Burgundy. Indeed, you would be very hard-pressed to find this much quality for the same price in France. We have just a few cases, so don’t miss out! 

There is no more important name in Argentinian wine than Catena. Nicola Catena is almost single-handedly responsible for putting Mendoza on the map of global wine production, and his grandson, Nicolás Catena Zapata, is widely credited with producing the first world-class wines in this region (stay tuned for more on Nicolás this afternoon). Today it is Laura Catena, the fourth generation of this storied family, at the helm. Laura spent a portion of her formative teenage years living and working on a farm in France, learning the language and literature, and tasks that had nothing to do with wine. Later her Francophile tendencies led to a love of Burgundy, and she became focused on growing world-class Pinot Noir in her homeland. She scoped out some of the best plots, searching high and low for pockets of limestone mixed with clay that closely resemble the famed geology of the Côte d’Or, and finally decided on five small parcels at very high elevations. And that is how Domaine Nico was born.

The high elevations and limestone soils are key to producing wines of freshness, verve, and typicity in an environment that is much warmer and drier than Burgundy normally is. Laura, her winemaker Roy Urvieta, and the entire team are obsessed with balance. They want Pinot that has the full spectrum of sweet, savory, and spicy characteristics, and to accomplish this they farm meticulously, working to ensure that they harvest at the exact right time. In the cellar they are equally precise, and also very gentle. The fruit is partially de-stemmed (about 50%) and then fermented in a combination of concrete eggs and roll-fermenters, which are essentially oak puncheons fitted with stainless steel closures, mounted on wheels that encourage the barrel to gently rock during fermentation. The wine is then aged for 15 months in François Frères barrels, about 30% new, before bottling.

The “Histoire D’A” vineyard was planted in 1998, and sits at an elevation of almost 4,500 feet. The name of the vineyard is a reference to a racy, French Erotica novel from the 1950s. Laura gave it that name after several vintages proved the wine from this site to be the most seductive, forward, and aromatically enchanting of the five single vineyards that make up Domaine Nico. This sensuous, sultry Pinot Noir pours a vibrant ruby, and opens up very quickly after a quick decant. Serve cellar cool, at around 55-60 degrees, and enjoy delicious classic notes of spiced cherries, raspberry liqueur, rose petals, mint, thyme, wild Chanterelles, and gamey forest floor. The sappy fruit is balanced perfectly by medium tannins, bright acidity, and savory minerals. Though it has enough structure for some excellent Argentine beef, I think it’s a perfect companion to roasted salmon or trout. The recipe below, which adds bacon to the mix, would make for an excellent winter meal to pair with perhaps the best Pinot in South America.

Domaine Nico, Pinot Noir "Histoire D'A"

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