POSTED ON March 17, 2009 | IN Argentina | BY Joe Becerra

We are leaving Club Tapiz and will be heading for our next accommodations at Posada Salentein, 90 kilometers away in the Uco Valley. On the way we are visiting Catena Zapata, one of the most famous and influential wineries in Argentina. Club Tapiz has been a wonderful experience and the staff has treated us with much care and graciousness. We had delicious meals, relaxing massages and a great time conversing with other guests. We hope Posada Salentein will be just as welcoming.

Catena Zapata

This is perhaps the most amazing winery we have ever visited. That is saying a lot since we have been to so many wineries over the years. The winery is a beautiful stone structure resembling the Mayan pyramids. The winery is both stunning inside and out, facing directly west to the Andes. It has a most beautiful circular barrel room. The winery had its origin in 1902 but it was not until 1983 that second-generation Nicolas Catena brought a new era to the Catena winery and all of Argentine wines. You could say that Nicolas Catena is the Robert Mondavi of Argentina. Not only did he build this stunning winery but he brought dramatic changes to the Argentina wine industry. He introduced winemaking techniques to Argentina that elevated the wines from ordinary to world class. In recent vintages many of his wines have received the highest possible ratings from prominent wine critics. Yes, even Robert Parker.

Laura Catena — Luca Wine and A San Francisco Connection

This is a very interesting story. Laura Catena is the daughter of Nicolas Catena. A few years ago she began making her own wines called Luca, named after her first-born child. She selected only the finest vineyards to make some very special wines. The wines are made within the Catena Zapata winery and her wines also have received wine ratings in the 90-point range. What is so interesting about this fact is that Laura Catena is an emergency room doctor and teacher at UCSF. Yes, the UCSF in San Francisco, where two of our granddaughters were born. She is 39 years old with three children. She was educated at Harvard and received her medical degree from Stanford University. She travels to Argentina at least four times a year to oversee the Luca winemaker and to perform duties as a vice president of Catena Zapata.


  1. mike beltran says

    The Luca Syrah and Chardonny were both just outstanding. They are available for about $30 in many locations. They are bottled in heavy glass with a classic simple label, which belies the quality wine in the bottle. Also tasted the Catena Chard, Cab and Sauvignon Blanc. All five wines are of the highest quality and at present prices of California wines are a bargain. There is no drop in quality. The winery is totally modern and as at Mondavi they are committed to producing world class wines. Check your local Wine Spectator for review of some of the wines listed in our trip. Once you taste a good Malbec, you will be hooked. Very food friendly and lip smacking good.