If there is one person that's completely connected with a grape varietal and a country, it must be Nicolas Catena Zapata.
He is known as the man who put Malbec on the world wine map, and rightly so. Nicolas Catena Zapata came across the tasty results of modern winemaking in the '80s during his studies in California. He returned to Argentina and started the "Californian-French" style winemaking. To get better, more elegant wines he moved his vineyards to the Tupungato area, to almost 1,500 metres above sea level - it had never been done before, and in doing so he created a completely new wine style. The family managed to create the ultimate fine wine of Argentina, the Nicholas Catena Zapata. Made of ungrafted Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine naturally fits in with the top bottles of Bordeaux and California.
Nicolas handed on the management of the winery to his daughter, Dr Laura Catena. Originally a trained - and still active - paediatrician with a degree from Harvard, Laura started scientific research into terroir on the estate. Her research resulted in the complete re-thinking of Mendoza's alluvial soils and highlighted the potential for diversity in viticulture. To continue the research and to share the results, they created the Catena Institute in collaboration with University of California Davis and the Universidad the Cuyo.
The institute was a pioneer in creating a sustainability system and certification for the Argentinean wine industry.