Argentina’s Domaine Bousquet: High Altitude Selections from the Uco Valley

Located in the Tupungato district of Mendoza’s Uco Valley, this very high altitude estate (5249’) buffeted by the cool winds of the Andes was founded by Jean Bousquet in 1997 with a first release of wines in 2005. Today the Domaine has 667 acres under vine, mostly farmed organically by Jean’s economist daughter Anne Bousquet and her husband Labid Al Ameri.  Their business experience has helped catapult Domaine Bousquet into Argentina’s 15th largest winery with 100 full time employees and exports to 50 countries. The winery now makes 3 million bottles per year.

We tasted several wines from the Domaine Bousquet portfolio.  Our impression is that these wines offer incredible value. They are also somewhat atypical of Argentine wine in their cool climate character.  Not every wine is a smash hit, but the Domaine Bousquet batting average (we’re writing this as the baseball season is beginning) is very high.  The talents of winemaker Lenin Martinez are evident in this array of delicious wines. Lenin is aided by itinerant consulting winemaker Paul Hobbs. 95 percent of the production is exported.

Although the origins of Domaine Bousquet is French, its wines are distinctly New World in their lush ripe fruit. The standouts, in our opinion, are the reserve wines, which offer incredible value, and the sparkling wines, which are better and no more expensive than the ubiquitous Prosecco.

The US importer is WISD Importing, owned by Domaine Bousquet.

For more on Argentina’s fine wines, see our Report #26 The Diverse Wines of Argentina as well as other articles on Argentina on our blog at iwinereview.com.

Tasting Notes.

Domaine Bousquet NV Brut Tupungato Uco Valley Mendoza ($13) 88 Pale gold. The Brut is a successful alternative to Prosecco, priced right and delivering excellent drinking pleasure. It has a frothy mousse and a dry, clean palate with ripe orchard fruit and yeasty notes that persist. A blend of 75% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir.  Domaine Bousquet NV Brut Rosé Mendoza ($13) 89 Pale copper salmon pink. Our favorite of the Domaine Bousquet sparklers, the rosé offers scents of rose petals and red raspberries. It’s clean on entry and offers ripe, fruity flavors on a creamy, lees-rich palate. It’s a tad off-dry. A blend of 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay made using the Charmat method, like Prosecco. Domaine Bousquet NV Brut Methode Traditionelle Mendoza ($18) 89 Medium gold. Made using the methode champenoise, this Brut offers notes of orange flower and ripe orchard fruit with notes of toasty lees and fennel. It’s creamy in the mouth with notable ripeness. 75% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir. 10.5 g/l RS

Domaine Bousquet 2017 Chardonnay Tupuganto Valley, Mendoza ($13) 89 Made from organically-certified grapes grown in the foothills of the Andes at 1200 meters altitude, this Chardonnay reflects the freshness of its terroir. It shows a bright perfume and balanced palate of orchard fruit with brisk lemony acidity. It’s uncomplicated and easy drinking. Domaine Bousquet 2017 Chardonnay Torrontés Tupungato Uco Valley Mendoza ($13) 90 This is a highly successful blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Torrontés. The wine shows the tropical fruit and rose petal nuances of Torrontés on the nose and the fullness and depth of Chardonnay on the palate. They combine to make a tantalizing, refreshing wine that’s excellent as an aperitif as well as a good pairing for light cuisine. Try with mildly spicy Asian fare. Domaine Bousquet 2015 Gaia Tupungato White Blend Tupungato Uco Valley Mendoza ($18) 89 This blend of 50% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Gris and 15% Sauvignon Blanc offers aromas and flavors of stone fruit with citrus accents. It has a creamy mouth feel and a clean, chalky finish. Easy drinking and goo value. About 40% of the blend is aged in French oak for 6 months.

Domaine Bousquet 2015 Gaia Red Blend Tupungato Uco Valley Mendoza ($20) 89 The Gaia offers ripe aromas and flavors of red and black fruit complemented by earthy notes. It’s a richly fruited wine, made from grapes harvested relatively late, requiring the addition of acid that contributes a bitter note on the backend. This is a good wine that would be even better, in our opinion, if picked earlier. A blend of 50% Malbec, 45% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon barrel fermented and aged in French oak for 10 months.

Domaine Bousquet 2015 Malbec Tupungato Uco Valley Mendoza ($13) 87 Medium light red. Revealing light red plum fragrances, this Malbec is quite different from its lush, super-soft competitors on the supermarket shelf. It offers red fruit, bright acidity, and even a touch of herbaceousness. Needs food to show its best. Domaine Bousquet 2015 Malbec Grande Reserve Tupungato Uco Valley Mendoza ($25) 91 Really, really good. This is a Malbec that delivers. There’s a rich bouquet of dark red fruit with hints of chocolate shavings, and a complex palate of black and red fruit, tobacco and spices. While long on the finish, the tannins are still firm, suggesting another year in bottle will yield high dividends. Sourced from the estate’s original vineyard and fermented in barrels and aged in French oak for 12 months.

Domaine Bousquet 2017 Merlot Tupungato Uco Valley Mendoza ($13) 89 Offering red plum and red berries on the nose, this is a very easy drinking wine with a soft entry, suave palate, and pleasant, fruity flavors. The firm tannins are a pleasant surprise on the finish. There’s a slightly jarring but not unpleasant hint of bitterness on the finish, too.

Domaine Bousquet 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Tupungato Uco Valley Mendoza ($13) 90 An outstanding, entry level Cabernet Sauvignon showing cassis on the nose and a round, suave palate with good, ripe dark berry flavors. It has good breadth and a lingering finish. Domaine Bousquet 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Tupungato Uco Valley Mendoza ($18) 92 The inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is an unexpected pleasure. For less than the price of a mediocre, commercial California Cab, one finds this quite elegant and sophisticated wine. There’s a fine perfume of cassis and blackberry with additional touches of tobacco and baker’s chocolate on the palate. The wine has a silky feel in the mouth, very good breadth, and a firm backbone. Aged 10 months in French oak.

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