Heading South of the Border for Summertime Wine & Food

In North Texas the rain has ended and the heat is on! I have been sharing with you a variety of excellent wines to enjoy this summer and now I have two more. Even in the heat of summer do not abandon your bold red wines for only white wines and rosés because much of summer’s cuisine pairs very well with bold reds. Argentinian Malbecs are grown in a very warm climate with little rain fall, producing perfect wines for year round enjoyment, including summer.

Rutini Malbecs

Rutini Malbecs Wines of Argentina logoFrom the Wines of Argentina web site: Mendoza, World Wine Capital, is the main winemaking province of Argentina, producing more than 80% of domestic wine, and has more than 395,000 acres of vineyards. It is undoubtedly a center of reference for the wine industry in Argentina and South America. There are five large oases in Mendoza: North, East, Center, South and Uco Valley (Valle de Uco). The Uco Valley sub region, where the Rutini Malbecs are produced, features the highest altitude vineyards in the province, at more than 5,580 feet above sea level. The Uco Valley comprises the Tupungato, Tunuyán and San Carlos departments. It stands out for its ideal conditions for the production of top quality grapes, yielding both white and red wines with great aging capacity. The most traditional varieties here are the Malbec, Merlot and Pinot Noir of La Consulta district. White varieties grown in the area include Chardonnay and Semillon.

Rutini Malbecs Malbec grapes from Wines of Argentina web siteMalbec as explained from the Wines of Argentina web site: Malbec is Argentina’s flagship variety, and the country has the largest Malbec acreage in the world. This variety originally comes from South West France, where it is called Cot and features a hard, tannic style. Due to its intense color and dark hues, wines obtained from this variety were once called “the black wines of Cahors.” These wines consolidated their prestige in the Middle Ages and gained full recognition in modern times. Argentina is currently the main producer of Malbec in the world, with 76,603 acres of vineyards planted across the country, followed by France (13,097 acres), Italy, Spain, South Africa, New Zealand and the USA. Mendoza is the main Malbec producer in the country, with 65,730 acres, representing 85% of all Malbec vineyards. Malbec’s most significant characteristic is its intense dark color. Its aromas evoke cherries, strawberries or plums; in some cases it is reminiscent of cooked fruit (e.g. marmalade), depending on when the grapes were harvested. In the mouth Malbec is warm, soft, and sweet, with non-aggressive tannins. When it is aged in oak, it develops coffee, vanilla and chocolate aromas.

Now let’s take a look at the two Rutini Malbec media samples shared with me by the great people at Gregory White PR.

Rutini Trumpeter MalbecRutini Trumpeter Malbec 2012: This 100% Malbec poured a deep garnet with purple highlights into the glass and opened with aromas of red fruit, spice, licorice and a touch of smoke. On the palate this wine delivered cherries, black raspberries, spice featuring cinnamon, licorice, a touch of jalapeño pepper and a lingering smokiness on the palate. It was smooth on the palate with well-rounded acidity and full-body tannins, leaving a lingering dry finish on the palate. Winemaker Mariano D Paola had a very specific oak regimen for this wine: 30% new American oak, 30% new French oak, and 40% 2 & 3 degree used American oak for 7 months. This wine contained 13.5% alcohol. SRP $10.99.

Trumpeter wines from Rutini have been Argentina’s “Best Buy” for over 15 years. Sourced from 100% estate-grown and hand-harvested grapes from Rutinin’s Tupungato vineyards in Uco Valley, the wines are crafted by winemaker Mariano Di Paola. Easy to drink, Trumpeter wines offer fresh varietal expression and meticulous winemaking that over-deliver on price to quality. Trumpeter wines are available in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Malbec and a Malbec-Syrah blend.

Rutini Encuentro MalbecRutini Encuentro Malbec 2011: This 100% Malbec poured a garnet red with inky purple highlights into the glass. It opened with a darker nose than the Trumpeter, with aromas of dark red fruit, spice and floral notes. On the palate this wine delivered flavors of cherries, blackberries, cranberries, spice, bitter dark chocolate, a touch of espresso and rose petals with a lingering oaky finish. I found this wine to be equally smooth to the Trumpeter with rich, round acidity and better integrated tannins; of course it was a year older. It was an equally full body wine that was well-structured that lingered on the palate. This wine was aged in 50% new French oak and 50% new American oak barrels for 12 months and contained 13.5% alcohol. SRP $18.99.

Encuentro represents a “perfect meeting” of flavor, aromatics and texture sourced from the finest estate vineyards in Uco Valley. Available in Encuentro Malbec, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and “Barrel Blends,” the wines are made by winemaker Mario Di Paola with wine consultant Paul Hobbs. Encuentro is the latest wine series from Rutini, producers of prestigious wines from Argentina since 1885.

As I said above, Malbecs are perfect wines with summer foods including steaks, barbeque, and hamburgers. They are versatile wines that can be enjoyed with a variety of cuisines. I chose to pair these two Malbecs with Beef Empanadas . The empanadas I made were more a Puerto Rican style than an Argentinian style but the Malbecs made for a great pairing and a great summer meal! A few adjustments to note in the empanadas I made, I used Goya frozen empanada dough instead of making the dough from scratch and a baked the empanadas with an egg wash on the dough to save calories instead of frying them. I paired the empanadas with a southwest flair salad with tortilla strips and avocado topped with a cilantro, avocado dressing and oven-baked Maduros, baked ripe plantains. The south of the border inspired dinner was delicious and both Malbecs paired beautifully with this meal!

Rutini malbecs beef empanandas

Rutini Malbecs beef empanadas dinner

Rutini wines logoFrom the Rutini Wines web site: The Rutini family winemaking tradition began in the early 19th century in Le Marche, Italy, when Francisco Rutini started making wines for the inhabitants of his native town, Ascoli Piceno. Thereafter, his only son Felipe Rutini immigrated to the Americas to extend the winemaking tradition. It was in Coquimbito, Maipú, in the province of Mendoza Argentina that he planted his first vines, further starting the Rutini Wines legacy. Since its foundation in 1885, Rutini Wines has been recognized for its extraordinary quality and character of its wines.  As Don Felipe Rutini built the winery under the slogan ¨Labor and Perseverance¨, he created a lasting legacy for top quality wines in Argentina.

Rutini vineyards

Don Felipe passed away in 1919, leaving his descendents in charge of the company. Continuing the excellence and tradition, the Rutini family began to develop further the production of fine white and red varietals such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. Later on, the Chenin grape was also incorporated.

Rutini vineyards3

Leading the industry in 1925, the Rutini family planted the first vineyards in Tupungato, in the heart of the Uco Valley. Named after one of Mendoza’s mountain peaks, the Tupungato Valley was no more than a stop-over on the road to the mountains when the Rutini family began to plant their first vines. At an elevation of 3000 to 5000 feet above sea level, the Tupungato Valley offers many different microclimates, creating optimal growing conditions. Combining the long tradition of production and wish to constantly evolve and innovate. Rutini Wines is recognized as one of the most successful and relevant brands of our time.

Rutini vineyards2

My Song Selection:  These Malbecs were deep and soulful yet new world jazzy at the same time. I have chosen to pair these wines with Allen Stone’s “Sleep.” This song combines the soulful sounds of Allen Stone’s voice with a tempo that is upbeat and fun; a perfect pairing!

Get your own bottles of Rutini Malbecs and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!

2 responses to “Heading South of the Border for Summertime Wine & Food”

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