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Felipe Rutini Apartado 2000
Vineyard Made only in exceptional vintage years, the grapes for Apartado, meaning "that which is set apart", go through a rigorous selection of the Rutini's best vineyards sites. The Cabernet is sourced from the Agrelo district, Malbec from La Consulta, Merlot from Tupungato and Syrah from Lujan de Cayo. The result from blending grapes from different microclimates and terroirs within Mendoza's high-altitude wine-growing region produces complex, rich and elegant wines.
Tasting Notes This stunning blend possesses complex layers of black currant, cassis, plum, spice, smoke and chocolate. The tannins are the backbone of the firm structure and balance beautifully with the rich fruit, spice and oak.
Don Felipe sent his six children to study in Italy. The new generation brought back to Argentina the European concept of ‘terroir’. They set out to find the best sites for vine cultivation in Mendoza. In 1925, the Rutinis planted their first vines in Tupungato. But it wasn't until the 80’s and 90’s that the Tupungato Valley would become the "Napa Valley" of Mendoza, with every Argentine and foreign winery investing in Argentina trying to buy land there for vineyards.
For decades, the wines of La Rural have been harbingers of quality in Argentina. Six years ago, Nicolás Catena, the pioneering owner of Bodegas Esmeralda, became a partner at La Rural with Don Rodolfo Reina Rutini, the grandson of Don Felipe Rutini. The winery has undergone substantial modernization and the vineyards have benefited from Catena's outstanding vineyard management team. The goal, as with every other Nicolás Catena project: to produce world-class wines that can stand with the best of the world.
Stretching from the Andes to Patagonia, Argentina's unique terroir lends to high quality wines. Formerly associated with inexpensive bulk wine but dramatically shifting focus from quantity to quality, Argentina is the most important wine-producing country in South America. Certainly excellent values abound here still, but increases in vineyard investment, improved winery technology, and a commitment to innovation since the late 20th century have contributed to the country’s burgeoning image as a producer of great wines at all price points. The climate here is diverse but generally continental and agreeable, with hot, dry summers and cold snowy winters—a positive, as snow melt from the Andes Mountains can be used to irrigate vineyards. Grapes very rarely have any difficulty achieving full ripeness.
Mendoza, a large and famous region responsible for more than 70% of Argentina’s wine production, is further divided into several sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. Red wines dominate here, especially Malbec, the country’s star variety, while Chardonnay is the most successful white. The province of San Juan is best known for blends of Bonarda and Syrah. Torrontés is a specialty of the La Rioja and Salta regions, the latter of which is also responsible for excellent Malbecs grown at very high elevation.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
In the Glass
Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.