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Ruta 22 Malbec 2016

Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
  • JS90
12.8% ABV
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  • JS90
  • WE88
  • WS87
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3.8 10 Ratings
12.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Deep, dark ruby red color. Intense aromas of ripe blackberry with a hint of vanilla. Concentrated yet soft and smooth with subtle oak on the finish.

Critical Acclaim

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JS 90
James Suckling
A juicy and fruity wine with balance and freshness. Medium body. Shows a fresh finish. #realmalbec.
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Ruta 22

Ruta 22

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Ruta 22, South America
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RN 22 or Ruta Nacional 22 is the Argentinean National Highway that connects the provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Rio Negro and Neuquen along its 685 km. The highway leads to Dos Andes in Rio Negro and Neuquen, Argentina, finishing in a paradise of endless vineyards.

The geography surrounding Ruta 22 is one of plateaus, mountains and of extreme weather. This area is mainly characterized by a landscape of lakes, mountains and forests. Ruta 22 captures the essence of Patagonia, transporting people to a barren and rugged landscape; a landscape that is a fertile and potent foundation for amazing possibilities; and one that inspires adventure, sincerity and fearlessness.

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By far the largest and best-known winemaking province in Argentina, Mendoza is responsible for over 70% of the country’s enological output. Set in the eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains, the climate is dry and continental, presenting relatively few challenges for viticulturists during the growing season. Mendoza, divided into several distinctive sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley, is the source of some of the country’s finest wines.

For many wine lovers, Mendoza is practically synonymous with Malbec. Originally a Bordelaise variety brought to Argentina by the French in the mid-1800s, here it found success and renown that it never knew in its homeland where a finicky climate gives mixed results. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Pinot Noir are all widely planted here as well (and sometimes even blended with each other or Malbec). Mendoza's main white varieties include Chardonnay, Torrontés, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.

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Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec is most famous for its runaway success in Argentina. However, the variety actually originated in Bordeaux, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends. After being nearly wiped out by a devastating frost in 1956, it was never significantly replanted, although it continued to flourish under the name Côt in nearby Cahors. A French agronomist who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, brought Malbec to Argentina in 1868. But it did not gain its current reputation as the country's national grape until a surge in popularity in the late 20th century.

In the Glass

Malbec typically expresses deep flavors of blackberry, plum and licorice, appropriately backed by aromas of freshly turned earth and dense, chewy tannins. In warmer, New World regions, such as Mendoza, Malbec will be intensely ripe, and full of fruit and spice. From its homeland in Cahors, its rusticity shines; dusty notes and a beguiling bouquet of violets balance rich, black fruit.

Perfect Parings

Malbec’s rustic character begs for flavorful dishes, like spicy grilled sausages or the classic cassoulet of France’s Southwest. South American iterations are best enjoyed as they would be in Argentina: with a thick, juicy steak.

Sommelier Secret

If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet. With its combination of bold flavors and soft tannins, it will appeal to basically anyone who enjoys red wine. Malbec also wins bonus points for affordability, as even the most inexpensive examples are often quite good.

SWS296170_2016 Item# 171603