I just finished the bottle and I'm already missing it...
I had purchased several bottles of 1999 Catena Chardonnay Agrelo Vineyard quite a few years ago (as many as I could find and afford at the time) and slowly, one by one, they have slipped away.
I have enjoyed every one of them, but not equally. Why? Because each bottle actually got better! I'm amazed at the way this wine ages. Oenophiles speak mostly of red wine aging, but this white doesn't know its white. Maybe because my cellar is 95% red, these Catenas just want to fit in. Whatever the reason, I'm not complaining.
I have tasted this wine many times. In a short number of years, the color has gone from a delicious yellow with green tinges to absolute liquid gold. The dark, golden color of this bottle is that of a trophy. It is simply beautiful. The flavors hit your tongue with integrated perfection. It starts out with vanilla and tropical citrus fruits and then progresses to creamy, toasty, smoky, oak. To say this is an explosive wine would be incorrect. It is much more of a seductive, alluring wine that coats your palate with pure elegance. If you could actually taste "golden" this is what it would taste like.
I do have one bottle of Catena Alta Chardonnay (the equivalent of a reserve) from 1999 left in my cellar as well as a few 2001 Catena Chardonnays which I will review later and compare when I finally decide to pop them open. I highly recommend cellaring these wines a few years which seems to really enhance their exotic, toasty flavors. To find out more about Catena wines visit The Wines of Nicolas Catena.
SCORE & RECOMMENDATION:
It might be pretty hard to locate 1999 Catena Chardonnay, but I'd highly recommend purchasing the latest vintage which is the 2004 (retails for around $14). Catena consistently makes terrific wine and is best known for its stunning Malbecs.