Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Taste of Argentina: #2 of 5

The Wine: Familia Rutini Trumpeter Tupungato Malbec 2004

Country: Argentina
Region: Mendoza, Tupungato
Category: Malbec
Vintage: 2004
Price: $8.99
Decanted or Not: No

Tasting Notes:

  • The Color: Nice dark ruby color you expect from a Malbec

  • The Nose: Nice nose, fruity, perfumy, but not overwhelming. Was a bit slow to open up.
  • The Taste: Nice fruit, well constructed wine with a fine silky, mineral finish that lasts.
This wine hails from the Tupangato, a mountainous region located in the Argentinian region of Mendoza near the border of Chili. I am consistantly impressed with Argentinian wines, as I've mentioned before. I have never heard of the subset region of Tupangato, but will look to learn more about the specific regions of Mendoza in the future. (Feild trip anyone?) Overall, I found the wine very pleasant, both on the palate and the wallet. If you're looking for a solid wine for yourself, but not trying to wow anyone, this is a good pick up.

Let us know what you think? Have you tried this wine?

The Verdict: 7 corks


Sergeant-At-Arms said...

How "dry" would you say this wine is? I'm not a fan of "sweet" wines. If I want to taste sugar I can have a glas of O.J. Are Malbecs drier as compared to Cabs, Merlots, Pinots, and Francs?

Please advise.

The Vine Guy said...


The Malbec grape has characteristics that fall somewhere between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. In a Red Wine, "dry" generally reflects the influence of tannin, which can leave one with a slight "pucker" and sensation of dryness on the tongue after tasting. Most of the "classic" or traditional Red Wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Bordeaux, Burgundy) are dry wines because they have moderate to dense tannic structure. However, don't let that deter you from trying this wine, as the "dryness" factor has a million different levels.

As far as sweetness, there are a slew of factors that contribute to this sensation, not the least of which are alcohol levels, acidity, and tannic structure. For example, a sweet wine such as a Vouvray (fermented can actually taste dry due to the high level of acidity, or a dry wine can taste sweet if the alcohol level is elevated.

Not sure this answers your question, but in general the heavier the tannic structure, the "dryer" a wine will appear. Also, the shorter a wine is fermented, the higher in sugar it will be, because the fermentation process turns sugar into alcohol.

Sergeant-At-Arms said...

Well you answered part of it. Malbec falls between Cab and Merlot. So how dry or how much tannins did you taste in this bottle?

And how dry are Malbecs in reference (generally speaking) to Pinots and Francs?

The Vine Guy said...

I didn't taste this bottle, so I couldn't comment, but I would assume this Malbec, like most, is more tannic that Piniot Noir. I can tell you that Malbecs, in general, have a heavier tannic structure that Pinot Noirs because the Malbec grapes have much thicker skins than Pinot Noir. And since the skins/seeds are what give a wine it's tannic structure, Malbecs in general make "dryer" wines.

Also, when you say Franc I assume you mean Cabernet Franc. Cab Franc is rarely used as a primary grape when making wine. It is typically a tertiary grape in varietally-blended red wines, such as Bordeaux or Meritage, instead of as a stand-alone varietal bottling. However, Cab Franc wines are also not as "dry" as Malbecs because the grape itself is juicier, and thinner skinned, making the tannic structure less dense than Malbecs.

I hope I hit it all...if not, keep asking.

Sergeant-At-Arms said...

Thanks to the both of you.

Sergeant-At-Arms said...

How do you know whether you should try a bottle of wine decanted, or non-decanted?

Is it general knowledge for certain varieties or does a drinker do it their whimsical desire to experiment?

Grape Nut said...

Hey Sarge,

This bottle isn't a "fruit bomb" by any means. It's not going to hit the levels of sugar and sweetness that you you would get from a cheap Australian Shiraz. You'll get some fruit in the wine, but also some tannins, a taste of the terrior and minerals of the soil.

As for decanting, as I understand it, the primary function of decanting is removing sediment from a bottle. Most of the time a bottle with a good of amount of age on it will need to be decanted (mostly reds) as particles drop out. One by-product maybe greater aeration.

I only decant older bottles when sediment is visible at the base of the bottle or it's about 10 years or older. But, I am by no means an expert on this issue.