What wine tourists to Mendoza are most in awe of are the lavish lunches that many wineries offer. In recent years, more and more restós, as they are called, have been popping up, making it difficult for visitors to choose. Below, I have shared with you my three favorite winery lunches—each with a different style and one for each wine appellation: Maipú, Luján de Cuyo and Uco Valley.
A note about Mendocino cuisine: You will find a melange of tastes consisting mostly of ancient Andes flavors and then the Mediterranean influences that came over with European immigrants mostly from Italy and Spain. This particular blend has come to be known as criolla. The following restaurants play with these flavors and ingredients to make their own creations— some dishes enter into the territory of haute cuisine while others are pure and simple; all will have your taste buds happy!
CASARENA | Luján de Cuyo
Casarena is a top choice, not only for the food and wine but for the stunning views of the Andes from its outdoor patio seating. (They have a lovely dining room inside as well if it is too hot or cold for your taste.) Their 6-course tasting menu is nicely paced and sized, allowing you to fully enjoy each and every perfectly cooked morsel. In my opinion, Casarena does a better job than most with combining interesting flavors and textures. And, don’t worry, your glass will never be empty! Casarena has multiple lines of wines, including Estate, Reservado, Single-Vineyard and Icono, which you will be introduced to throughout your lunch.
CASA EL ENEMIGO | Maipú
El Enemigo, which means “the enemy” in Spanish is anything but to those who are famished and parched. (Yes, wine tasting all day is hard work!) This winery is the creation of Adrianna Catena, member of the important Mendoza wine family behind Catena Zapata, and Alejandro Vigil, the family’s chief winemaker, and their mission was to create wines that both respected tradition and challenged the status quo. This philosophy has been adopted by El Enemigo’s kitchen as well, which pushes and pulls at the boundaries of Argentinian cuisine. The inventiveness of the dishes and cheerful space make this a must when in Mendoza.
BODEGA LA AZUL | Uco Valley
There are some places that just have you at hola! Located in the stunning Uco Valley appellation, just in front of Route 89 (aka Route of Wine) with a backdrop of the towering Andes, La Azul is the antithesis to the fancy, white table linen winery restaurants in the area. Here, it feels like you are attending a weekend barbecue among friends. Their five-course menu (though abridged menus are available too) is all about authentic criolla cooking, and each course is paired with one of their estate wines, from a tropical Sauvignon Blanc, a fresh, fruity Malbec to some of their bigger wines, including Malbec - Cabernet Sauvignon blends and a Syrah. You will love this homestyle, al fresco dining experience.
Does this have your mouth watering?
La Dolce Vigna has 6 spots available on its 2020 Mendoza Wine Tour!
Join me for the trip of a lifetime, winery hopping in all three of Mendoza’s appellations, a cooking class of empanadas and other local specialties, a tango lesson and show, a traditional Argentinian barbecue, and an unforgettable day in the Andes foothills!