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Pioneering world class Cabernet Franc in Argentina

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Founded in 1885, Rutini is one of Argentina’s historic wineries – but also one of the most visionary. In recent years, Rutini has cemented its reputation as a fine wine leader, most especially with the emerging quality and expressiveness of Cabernet Franc.

A modern pioneer of Gualtallary

Under the hand of long-standing winemaker Mariano Di Paola, Rutini has transformed in the last two decades, moving from making everyday wines in Maipú to pioneering premium wines in the Uco Valley. Although the state-of-the-art winery is still glistening in its new sheen, it was actually a thread from the past that first brought Di Paola here.

‘The Rutini family was actually one of the first families to plant in Uco. They planted Chardonnay and Merlot in Tupungato in 1925,’ explains Di Paola, who started making wines from those very same plants when he joined Rutini in 1994. ‘I fell in love with the quality coming from these vines, following which, in 1996, we planted 20 hectares in nearby Gualtallary.’

At that time, with just a few experimental vineyards, Gualtallary was still uncharted territory. With a visionary conviction, Rutini continued planting, amassing 100 hectares in the following 12 months. Di Paola found that this new high-altitude mountain terrain was a paradise for both white and red varieties, making notable Chardonnay and Merlot — as he had suspected — but also stellar Malbec and Gewürztraminer.

What took longer to emerge, though, was the potential for world class Cabernet Franc.

Unveiling a unique terroir for Cabernet Franc

‘We first planted Cabernet Franc in 1998, although the quality was suited more to a supporting role for Malbec,’ admits Di Paola. ‘It wasn’t until we planted the new sector of the vineyard in 2002 that we really started to see a unique quality come through.’

The new sector is 100 metres higher in altitude and has much poorer, rocky soils. ‘It gives us a totally different profile of Cabernet Franc — one with not only fruit, but also with a savoury, ashy, minty profile and smooth tannins.’

Following several vintages honing their winemaking, Di Paola and his team now make some of the most elegant Cabernet Franc expressions in Mendoza today, filled with dark spice and poise.

The Single Vineyard wine is the epitome of Rutini’s increasingly sophisticated style: with nuanced layers of spearmint, raspberries, coffee beans and black pepper, and a long, fragrant finish. It has quite rightly taken home a clutch of awards and excellent scores, shining a light on the great potential of this variety in the unique terroir of Gualtallary.

Although Rutini counts on a history of 138 years, it is still very much leading the way into the future.

Discover more about Rutini Wines

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