This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Friday, Oct. 12, 2007 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20071012.php.
Malbec another way
Following up briefly on Wednesday's article about the giant Gallo firm making its entry into the growing market for Argentine Malbec, let's spend a moment today looking at another Argentine brand that was among the first to enter the U.S. market.
Online references indicate that Familia Rutini winery in Argentina's wine-producing Mendoza region began exporting modestly priced Malbec as early as the 1980s, selling its under-$10 portfolio under the Anglophone label "Trumpeter." Rutini was quickly joined by quite a few of its compatriots, including such early names as Catena and Trapiche; but it was only more recently that the trickle turned into a flood, and more upscale Malbecs and other Argentine trophies expanded the early identification of Argentina with low-end, affordable wines.
Not that there's anything wrong with low-end, affordable wines, as long as they're good. Today's featured wine, an odd blend of more-or-less equal proportions of Malbec and Syrah, bears the Trumpeter label. Owing more to its Syrah heritage than Malbec and a little more to oak, it's a hearty if somewhat simple red table wine that fares well with red meat, and a reasonable value in the range of $10 or so. My notes are below.
It was a great disappointment to have last week's Internet Radio "TalkShoe" on The Battle of the Grapes deep-sixed by a rare technical issue that unexpectedly put our program off the air.
We're going to try it again tomorrow, though, on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 1 p.m. US Eastern Daylight Time, which is 10 a.m. on the West Coast, 6 p.m. in the UK and 7 p.m. in most of Western Europe.
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I hope to have the opportunity to talk "live" with many of you then!
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Rutini 2006 "Trumpeter" Mendoza Malbec-Syrah ($12)
Clear, dark garnet. Aromas of plums, meat and smoke, it seems to speak more of Syrah (and oak, perhaps) than Malbec. Full-bodied, tart and tannic; black fruit and a hint of fennel. Simple fruit and soft tannic astringency in the finish. Good wine for red meat. U.S. importer: Billington Imports Inc., Springfield, Va. (Sept. 26, 2007)
FOOD MATCH: Fine with my Malbec standard, juicy burgers made with local grass-feed beef.
VALUE: It's an okay table wine, but doesn't really stand above the competition in the lower teens. It's a somewhat better value where available in some markets for under $10.
WHEN TO DRINK: I'm not sure it would evolve significantly with cellar time, but it certainly has the structure to withstand a few years.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Club WineWeb - a different type of wine club
Until now, you had two options when choosing a wine club:
1. Subscribe to a wine club offered by a winery. These are great if you really like their wines and want a lot of it, but they don't let you explore new wineries.
2. Subscribe to a wine club offered by a wine merchant to get a selection of different wines. The merchant typically negotiates for a steeply discounted price from the winery, then marks up the price to make a profit from the club. There is usually no incentive for the winery to offer their best wines, versus unloading a slow-moving wine at a discount.
Now there is another approach, offering a selection of different wines direct from the winery, where the winery's incentive is to offer you their best wines.
Introducing Club WineWeb, an exclusive club offering wines direct from small-production wineries, at prices less than you can get them anywhere else. Each month you'll receive two bottles of wine, selected by the winery to showcase their style. A different winery is featured each month. These wineries are small and typically have too small of a selection of wines to support their own wine club, and it's very unlikely you would see these wines in your local wine shop. Each winery also provides a limited-time discount on future online orders.
Their best wines. Try them at a discount. Buy more at a discount.
First shipment goes out next week. Sign up at clubwineweb.com
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