Trumpeter Tupungato Mendoza Malbec/Syrah 2005 Tasting Notes
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Trumpeter Tupungato Mendoza Malbec/Syrah 2005 Tasting Notes

Rutini Wines produces this sub-$10 combination of equal parts Malbec and Syrah in the Tupungato area of Mendoza province in Argentina; at 3300 feet, these vineyards lie snug at the foothills of the Andes, the source, of course, of this arid region's copious irrigation water. Argentina is the world's fifth largest wine producer, just after the United States, and the wines continue to impress.

The Trumpeter combines two French grapes. Malbec, the grape best known in Cahors in the southwest of France but otherwise one that fails to thrive commercially in its native country, has become almost a synonym for Argentinean wine (a shame, since Argentina offers so much more than one grape). The Rhone's Syrah has become Argentina's fourth most planted variety. The combination works, with the result a good, drinkable dry red wine with medium acidity, straightforward notes of cherry and plum, with some tobacco (the result of a year-long aging in 70% American/30% French oak), and an appropriate alcohol level of 13.3%.

If there is a negative note at all, it is the wine's very tight nose: virtually nothing, swirl as I might. The tasting circumstances might perhaps explain this, however; this was an art exhibition opening, the wine was not decanted or allowed to breathe even a moment, and it was served in a generic short glass.


Verdict: Works
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With all its problems, Argentina gives us so much more than all those excellent tennis players; the wines are definitely to watch.

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award

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