To Mendoza for the Masters of Food & Wine: Day 3: Catena Zapata, Rutini Wines, Terrazas de los Andes


(Full disclosure: Park Hyatt and American Airlines, sponsors of the Masters of Food & Wine Event, comped my airfare, hotel, and admission to the events)

Day three started bright and early at 8AM with a drive to Catena Zapata. It was a beautiful day and I was excited that our hour-long bus ride was bringing us closer to the mountains, which made for a very picturesque ride (though the bus seats were especially comfortable, so I had a hard time staying awake).

Catena Zapata was absolutely stunning, given the Mayan-inspired building with the mountains and vineyards in the backdrop.


Catena Zapata

We were greeted by their winemakers and marketing folks with a champagne reception, as they explained a bit about the history of the winery.

Cheese and crackers


Interior of the building

Winemaking facilities

One of the nice things about the Mayan temple design is that there’s an observation deck at the very top. When we finally made it up there I had one of those moments where you forget about everything else in the world, forget about all the bad stuff going on, forget about any stress, and just take in the world for how beautiful it is. Ah, life is good.

View from the top

Our tour continued downstairs, where we also had some wine tasting.


After about two hours at Catena Zapata it was time to go to Rutini Wines for lunch and a tour, which was about 45 minutes away. The view from Rutini Wines was equally beautiful, though the building itself was a bit more “industrial.”

View from Rutini Wines

Rutini Wines

Two things I’ll forever associate with one another

Interview with the chef

We were lucky enough to actually be the first ones to ever get a tour of the winery, since it was the first time they opened to the public.

Massive facility



More to drink

After a tour it was time for lunch. This lunch was different (in a cool way), in that we were having lunch in the actual “facilities,” giving it a more industrial feel.

Lunch setup

The chef today was Brazilian and the pasty chef was Argentinian.


Chefs making final preparations

Fish salad preparations

Rutini Gewuerztraminer, 2009

Amazonian fish salad with butter beans, “torresmos Pacoca” and Brazil nuts

Rutini Encabezado de Malbec, 2007


Guinea fowl with Xerem corn and farmer vegetables

Sun dried beef with milk Pirao, pumpkin and marrow butter

Chocolate cake soakes in Rutini Dulce Encabezado de Malbec
Light  pistaccio cream, poached apricot
Spiced cocoa syrup

After a fancy three hour meal it was time to head back to the hotel, though only for about 30 minutes before it was time to hit the next winery. Dinner would be at Terrazas de los Andes, which was about an hour drive from the hotel.

Terrazas de los Andes

They set up a tent just for the dinner. I couldn’t help but feel like I was at a wedding.


Our table


Dinner in progress

Tonight’s chef was Argentinian and pastry chef was American. I spent quite a bit of time googling this meal to figure out just what it was!

Pacu cooked in earth oven with lemon, potato stew over mozzarella and roasted Andean potatoes

After the first course the owner of the winery and chef were on stage to introduce themselves.

Chef Martin Molteni

Mollejas glazed with sugarcane honey, dehydrated mushrooms, figs in lemon, and potato confit

Pork bondiola in honey with “ruta del norte” species, tomatoes, spring onion whites and roasted peppers

There was even entertainment with the main course, in the form of tango.




Dome of chocolate, creme brulee center, caramel mousse, hazelnut biscuit

To finish off the evening everyone working in the kitchen was brought out for a round of applause.

Our excellent chefs/kitchen staff

After a most enjoyable two days, as exhausting and calorie-filled as they were, I was looking forward to a half decent night of sleep before flying back to the US.

Filed Under: Travel
  1. What settings are you using when using your camera. Manual mode or the presettings. They look awesome

  2. How do you survive so many calories? The preparation and presentation of the dining experience is excellent.

  3. @ Nicole — Thanks! I’m actually just using the preset mode. I turn on the camera, I point, and I shoot. I need to learn to use the camera properly one of these days.

    @ chitownflyer — Well, I don’t usually eat *that* much. It was two days of over-indulgence, though I will say I didn’t eat/drink everything displayed.

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