I’ve said it before and I am going to say it again. For the most part, the wines from Argentina available at Retailers in America would NEVER be drank by a true Argentine. The long list of Supermarket quality wines including the well selling Gallo Brands of Alamos, Don Miguel Gascon, the Nortons, Trapiches, Bodega Elena are all Wines looked at by Argentinian people and Sommeliers like myself as Yellow Tail is looked upon by an Australian…Low End CRAP!.
I am fortunate that my roommate and friend Carolina is from Argentina and her brothers Sebastian and Gregorio and mother Betty come visit us from Buenos Aires every year. That is the only time any of us drink Wines from Argentina because they are the real deal that come directly from the Source and haven’t been “Gallo-ized” yet. Tonight was the last night of our visit with Gregorio (nickname Grego). Just like they do in Argentina on a Sunday they get together with family and do what is known as Asado (Meats and Organs of the wonderful grass fed beef) grilled over hardwood and charcoal on a fire pit. With Grego here and the availabilty of Argenitne Meat Cuts in South Florida from Argentine Meat Shops, Grego was able to create the Sunday Asado fo us in our South Florida Backyard.
In the picture above, Grego and I toast each other with Homemade Beer brewed up by my other Roomie and friend Amanda. The Asado Meat Cuts are on the Fire Pit cooking. Let’s disucss the cuts on the grill in the picture. On the top left is Molleja in Spanish which translates to Sweetbreads in English. Many of you steakhouse diners might be familiar with Sweetbreads wrapped in bacon which is pretty much almost on every high end steakhouse menu. F.Y.I., Sweetbreads are not Banana Bread or Corn Muffins, this is the Thymus Gland of the Cow. Ewwwww, sounds gross??? Don’t knock it till you try them. On the Bottom Left we have the actual Asado which almost every American is familiar with as Short Ribs but they are served later in the meal. Next to the Short Ribs are the Chinchulines (The innards, The Poop Shoot). Soul food junkies will know Chitlins but those are fried and the intestines of a pig. In Argentina for the most part it’s all about the Beef Baby!. Also on the Grill to the right of the Chinchulines are 2 types of Seasoned Beef Sausages. The Churrasco (Skirt Steak) cooks quickly so that goes on the grill last.
I may be out of order but I go right for the Beef Sausage in the first picture above. As you can see in the next picture, Amanda is not as adventurous as the rest of us as she looks at the plate and trys to find anything that doesn’t look like an intestine or thymus gland but I’m right next to her tearing into anything that isn’t moving on the plate. The food and the order in which it is served is so traditional in Argentina and so delicious (Minus the night of tums that most of us will be taking for hogging all that rich Organ Meat, but well worth it). It was an Amazing meal and of course the most important part is the REAL ARGENTINIAN WINES we paired with the food.
Don Felipe Rutini, an Italian immigrant from the winemaking region of Le Marche, founded bodegas La Rural in 1885. Don Felipe, who came to Argentina with a degree in agriculture from the Real Scuola de Ascoli Pisceno, had his eye on quality from the start. One of the first varietals he planted was Cabernet Sauvignon, in the Maipu vineyard, where La Rural grows Cabernet Sauvignon for Trumpeter today.
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. The 2 wines we had with the Asado were from the Tupungato vineyard. 6 Years ago, Nicolas Catena from famous Bodeaga Catena Zapata partnered up as a consultant with Don Felipe’s Great Grandson who is running the Bodga now. We had the 70% Cabernet Sauvignon 30% Merlot and then moved on to the Rutini 70% Cabernet Sauvignon 30% Syrah blend. Both wines age for 12 months in French Oak (50% New and 50% Used). The Cab/Merlot blend was nice but the red fruits were slightly jammy for me. The better pairing was the Cab/Syrah with the Asado Meal, especially with the last portion of the meal the Churassco (Skirt Steak) and for me another Tums producing Molleja (That’s the one too many rule that always gets to me but you only live once lol)
The 2006 Cab/Syrah blend was really ripe and ready to go but darker and more complex than the Cab/Merlot Blend. I like the nose on this wine with dark black fruits of currant, blackberry, black raspberry, the palate was medium body and silky with a solid mid-palate and the ripe tannins just glided over the cuts of juicy but yes fatty beef cuts ending with a touch of baking spices and black pepper on the finish. I would score this effort 88 points.
Don’t cry for me Argentina, I have connections lol but so can you. My strong recommendation is not to purchase these fake tasting low end Argentinian Wines from a Wine Retailer but go straight to the source. Let your fingers do the walking (does anyone use the yellow pages anymore with the whole world having smartphones?) and seek out a local Argentinian Grocery Store, Meat Shop, Bakery as they all carry the real deal wines like Rutini and while you are there pick up some meats, Chimichurri sauce, and bread with the wines and you can take a vacation to Argentina in your own backyard as well. Muchas Gracias Gregorio for a great meal and the Rutini Wines you brought on your visit. I’d write more but I need another Ginger Ale and Some Tums!