The Austin Chronicle

Wine of the Week


By Wes Marshall, May 12, 2006, Food


No, they're not from San Antonio. Alamos wines are made by Bodega Catena Zapata, a gorgeous winery located in the foothills of the Argentine Andes. Started in 1902 by Italian immigrant Nicola Catena, the winery thrives today under the leadership of his grandson, Nicholas Catena. Armed with a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University and time spent working with Robert Mondavi, Catena has supercharged his family business, expanding the company to four labels, from the ultrapremium Nicolas Catena Zapata down to their least expensive line called Alamos.

There are seven wines in the Alamos line, and all are worthwhile, but the three stunners are their Chardonnay, Viognier, and Malbec. All three wines are $10 and offer an amazing amount of concentration and density in the glass for the price. No watery wines here. The Chardonnay has very soft acids that make for good use as an aperitif, but it also has a nutty aroma that makes you continue to want to keep taking an enjoyable whiff. The Viognier has the slightly oily texture you generally find in far more expensive Viogniers, along with the appetizing aromas of peaches and apricots. The Malbec, made from the classic red wine grape of Argentina, is smoky and intensely fruity, just the type of wine you'll love with a braised pork shoulder or lamb shanks.

Alamos wines are available at Central Market, Whole Foods, Cost Plus/World Market, Cedar Valley Liquor, and select Twin Liquors stores.

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