An Argentinian Elixir-Ruca Malen

According to an ancient local legend, love between Gods and mortals was forbidden. Therefore, Mapuche women always walked looking down, fearing to meet the piercing gaze of a beautiful God. But one day, a Mapuche woman, the most daring of them all, raised her head, and when she met the eyes of the God she instantly fell in love. The God, touched by her love, offered her an elixir to join the eternal beings. In return she gave him a home, “the young girl’s house”, so that they could create together a new lineage of legendary Gods. You may not believe in legends, but when you taste Ruca Malen you will admit that there might be a kernel of truth in this one.

Ruca Malen, a Journey to the Heart of a Legend

I had initially sampled their wines when the winemaker. Pablo Cuneo. was visiting the area and did a tasting at Central Market. Each wine drank above its price point. Balanced, with the intensity of Mendoza fruit carefully managed. The story of their labels and the legend behind them was one I wouldn’t forget.

So, when I was recently asked to sample three of their wines, I happily obliged.

img_79022015 Yauquen Malbec ($13)

55% Uco Valley, 45% from Lujan de Cuyo

This line is named for the word and the ritual in which they with the gods the fruits of the land. The concept of sharing is appropriate for a wine at this price point. A balance of rich red fruit and spice, deep red to purple in the glass, sturdy tannins. Fermented in stainless steel, the fruit remains front and center.


img_79032014 Ruca Malen Reserva Malbec ($19)

70% from Lujan de Cuyo, 30% from the Uco Valley

The deep purple center gives way to a cranberry rim in the glass. The fruit is powerful from beginning to end. Dark red fruit on the nose, tart black on the palate. The tannins are concise and definitive. It spends a year in 80% French and 20% American oak, 2nd and 3rd use.

We paired both with grilled steak. I preferred the first with the meal, the Reserva would have faired better with a richer dish.


img_7900NV Ruca Malen Brut ($28)

Both the color and the palate are reminiscent of a field of wheat as the sun rises. It is warm with notes of nutmeg and baking bread. It has the acidity to remain crisp; its tiny bubbles refresh. Produced by Méthode Champenoise, it is 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, 100% delicious. I really liked this wine.



A little about the region (taken from the Wines of Argentina site):


Mendoza’s varied altitudes and temperatures offer great conditions for a wide range of grape varieties. Natural resources and massive investment in vineyards and wineries have made this Argentina’s wine capital and one of the world’s great wine regions.

wofamapKey Facts:

  • Vineyard altitude is 1,500-5,580’
  • Average annual temperature is 59/66F
  • 70% of Argentina’s wine production
  • Five main areas: Northeastern, Central, Mendoza River Area (including Luján de Cuyo and Maipú), Uco Valley and Southern
  • Top subregions: Luján de Cuyo and Uco Valley
  • Higher vineyards have bigger diurnal swings for extra acidity, flavors, aging potential

{These wines were provided by Gregory White PR as media samples. I received no other compensation. Thoughts and opinions are my own.}

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Being a stay- at-home mom can leave one thirsting for a taste of the outside world, a world in which sentences are composed of more than three words. Being an educator means one is always seeking an opportunity to explore and learn. Being a woman with a need to connect can be a challenge when adult conversations are rare. In wine, I find the marriage of art and science, agriculture and storytelling provides limitless areas to explore. But it is the people that keep me engaged. The tenacity needed to keep the family dream alive, the risk to start anew, the trials and principles. I love the history of the vine, the impact of a season, the sentiment in the bottle. That is why I write. I write to tell their stories, to share a piece of mine. I write to learn as I teach others. I write to connect with new friends, to disconnect from the world. I write to celebrate what makes each of us unique, and that which ties us together.

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