Domaine Bousquet: Argentinian Wine with a French Twist

There is a Mediterranean restaurant, Lallisse, not far from my apartment that I pass often but for some reason never went into. Recently I was invited to a dinner and tasting of the wines of Domaine Bousquet, a Argentina winery at Lallisse. I knew that Domaine Bousquet is certificated organic and I also knew from friends that Lallisse only serves organic wine and uses organic products; even the Mexican coffee beans are organic. The restaurant has many of  the Domaine Bousquet wines on their list.

Ann Bousquet the owner of the winery, was the speaker and began by telling us something about the winery.

Ann Bousquet

Ann’s father Jean Bousquet is a third generation French wine maker who vacationed in Argentina in 1990. He saw the Gualtallary Valley, a remote arid terrain high in the Tupungato district of the Uno Valley in the Mendoza region. He believed this would be an ideal location for organically grown grapes. Locals dismissed the area as to cool for growing grapes. Bousquet believed it was the perfect place for Old World high acidity and cool climate with New World sunny and fruit forward wines. He purchased land  there in 1997, in 1998 dug a well because it was a very dry area.  He grew grapes, built a modern winery and produced wine. In 2008 Ann joined the company and in 2009 she and her husband moved to Tupungato full time.  They assumed ownership of the 173 acre Domaine Bousquet in 2011.

Ann said the region has an exceptional terroir and ideal weather conditions to produce quality wines from organic grapes. Domaine Bousquet produces wines applying both French and Argentine know how to the wine making process.  The wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel, cement and French oak. They only have used barriques. Since the terroir is so exceptional she wanted to express it in her wines and not have too much oak.  She is committed to organic agriculture and improving the land’s biodiversity. She said that the healthier the vineyards the better the fruit and of course the wine.

Sparkling Rose NV Charmat method made from 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay from their own vineyards in Tupungato, Alto Gualtallary by the foothills of the Andes at 4,000 ft. The soil is gravel and sand. Manual harvest is during the third week of February. Fermentation is with selected yeast at a maximum temperature of 13C/15C for 15 days. Secondary fermentation is in steel tanks. Residual Sugar is 12g/ and the alcohol is 12%. The wine is fruity with delicate bubbles, hints of red fruit and citrus notes.   $13

Ann said because of the high altitude of the vineyards at 4,000 feet,  the nights are fresh and cool which helps to preserve the fresh fruit flavor and acidity in the grapes.

Chardonnay Reserve 2016 made from 100% Chardonnay from their vineyards in the Tupungato (Uco Valley) at 4000 ft. one of the highest points in Mendoza. 30% of the wine has been aged in used French oak barrels for 10 months and 4 months in bottle before release. Alcohol is 13.5%. $18

Gaia Red Blend 2015 made from 50% Malbec, 45% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. There is a manual harvest: for the Syrah the 2nd week of April, Malbec the 3rd week of April, and the Cabernet Sauvignon 4th week of April. There is a cold fermentation for 72 hours. Fermentation is with selected yeast at a maximum temperature of 27C for 12 days. Maceration is for 14 days and the wine is aged in used French barrels for 10 months. This is a fruity wine with aromas and flavors of black fruit with a hint if blueberries and a touch of spice Alcohol is 14%.  $20

Pinot Noir Reserve 2016  100% Pinot Noir. Manual harvest the first week of March. There is a cold fermentation at 8C for 72 hours with selected yeast between 20C and 25 C for 15 days and 10 days of additional maceration. Aged in French oak for 10 months. Alcohol is 14.5%. This is an elegant well-balanced red wine with hints of strawberry and cherry. It really tasted like a Pinot Noir. $18

Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 made from 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Malbec. Ann said by law a wine must contain at least 85% of the grape varietal that is on the label. $18There is a manual harvest during third and fourth week of April. Cold maceration is at 10C for 48 hours. Fermentation with selected yeasts at a temperature of 25C to 27 C for 10 days and 10 days of additional maceration. Aged in French oak for 10 months.$18

Gran Reserve Malbec 2015 Made from 85% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5 % Merlot and 5% Syrah. There is a manual harvest during the third and fourth week April. Cold maceration lasts for 48 hours. Fermentation is with select yeasts at a temperature of 25C/27C for 10 days and 14 days of additional. The grapes are macerated, and malolactic fermentation takes place. The wine is aged in used French oak for 10 months. The wine had aromas and flavors of red fruit with hints of strawberry and a touch of spice. Alcohol is 14%. $25


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