I don’t know about you, but Malbec is the first grape that comes to mind when discussing Argentina. It’s their signature varietal and as such has received some serious attention over the years. When it’s done right, Argentine Malbec is as good as examples from anywhere in the world. That said though, there’s a lot more to Argentine wine than just Malbec. When I started drinking wines from Argentina in the mid 1990s, it was Cabernet Sauvignon that got my attention, Chardonnay soon followed. The point is that while the Malbec gets most of the attention, there’s a lot more to love. In the value category in particular, Argentina offers a wide swath of affordable wines. Here’ are four from Rutini Trumpeter that offer varietal character and value to boot.
Rutini Trumpeter Chardonnay – The fruit for this wine was sourced in the Mendoza region of Argentina. It’s a 100 percent varietal wine, and 30 percent of the fruit underwent malolactic fermentation (a secondary fermentation process that converts the harsher malic acid to softer lactic acid). It was aged in a combination of new (50 percent), once-used (25 percent) and twice-used (25 percent) French oak. This wine has a suggested retail price of $10.99. Apple and kiwi aromas emerge from the nose of this Chardonnay. The palate features both orchard fruit and pineapple characteristics. Both yellow and green apple flavors are in evidence on the finish, along with hints of limestone and white pepper. This is a clean, crisp Chardonnay, loaded with pure fruit. It would be a great choice to drink all summer and fall.
Rutini Trumpeter Cabernet Sauvignon – All of the fruit for this wine was picked by hand in the Mendoza region. It’s 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, and all of it underwent malolactic fermentation. It was aged in a combination of new American (40 percent) and used French (60 percent) oak over a period of 9 months. It has a suggested retail price of $10.09. Red plum and black raspberry aromas are prominent on the nose. Those fruity characteristics carry through to the palate where it’s joined by hints of black raspberry and cherry. Vanilla bean, black pepper and a hint of cardamom are all in evidence on the finish. This wine is loaded with eager fruit flavors. It’s fresh and appealing; drink it in its youth for maximum pleasure.
Rutini Trumpeter Malbec – This 100 percent Malbec wine was produced using fruit sourced at the Tupungato vineyard in Mendoza. It underwent malolactic fermentation. Barrel aging took place over 7 months in a combination of new and used French and American oak. It has a suggested retail price of $10.99. Red raspberry and a hint of crème fraiche tell the story of the nose on this fruit-driven Malbec. The palate is juicy and studded with more of those characteristics, as well as red cherry and a hint of super ripe red wild strawberry. The finish shows off wisps of sweet cocoa and continuing fruit flavors. Pair this wine with something off the grill for a delicious pairing.
Rutini Trumpeter Malbec-Syrah – This wine is a 50/50 blend of Malbec and Syrah. All of the fruit was sourced in Mendoza. It was aged in new and used French and American oak for 7 months. This wine has a suggested retail price of $10.99. Just a hint of smoke accompanies a boatload of dark fruit aromas on the nose of this blend. Plum and blackberry flavors dominate the palate along with a touch of savory herb. The finish shows off a touch of bacon fat, earth and sour cherry flavors. This is a well balanced red that will pair with a wide array of foods.
In this price category, I’m looking for easy to drink wines that showcase good varietal character. They should also be food friendly offerings that you want to consume a couple of glasses of over a meal. The Rutini Trumpeter wines succeed on all those points. One of the advantages that South American wineries in general often have is fruit sourcing. Many wineries own their own property and make all of their wines from estate grown fruit. In other parts of the world this is not always the case when it comes to wines in the $10 price range. Often those wines are produced using fruit found on the spot or bulk market. By growing and thus controlling their own fruit they have an easier time assuring year to year consistency of quality, which is no small thing. These wines from Rutini Trumpeter are precisely the kind of offerings I look for to keep on hand for everyday drinking. At less than $10 a bottle if you shop around I suggest trying them all so you can find a favorite.