While Mendoza is the wine powerhouse of Argentina, there are other regions within the country that are not as well known here in the Northern Hemphisphere. This wine comes from the Neuquén Valley of Patagonia, south of Mendoza and west of Buenos Aires. The chalky soil means that most of the country's sparkling wine is made there, but they also produce Argentina's most well known grape, Malbec.
The name Ruta 22 refers to a national highway that runs from the east coast port of Bahia Blanca and ends in the western vineyards of Neuquén. The brand is in the portfolio of the Chilean-Argentine partnership Dos Andes, who also make one of the most delightfully named wines ever: Lai Lai from the Bio Bio region.
2011 Ruta 22 Malbec
Neuquén Valley, Patagonia
$11, 14.5% abv.
There's a nose of ash and wet stone with black plum notes underneath. Full dark fruit flavor with firm tannins and a long aftertaste. Not jammy, but fairly well balanced. I served this with grilled cheeseburgers, and think that it would work well with lots of casual fare.
Note: This wine was received as a sample.