Can you believe it is already time to begin planning for Thanksgiving? Depending on the size of your gathering you will need one or more wines to accompany your meal. Whether you plan a traditional Thanksgiving menu or one that is more modern, Domaine Bousquet has at least one wine from their broad portfolio of wines to accompany your meal. And, once you learn about Domaine Bousquet’s responsible farming practices and their commitment to community, I’m certain you will be thankful for more than delicious wine in your glass. We received these wines as tasting samples.
In The Beginning There Was Only Sand
When Jean Bousquet came to Argentina on vacation in 1996 from France he made a discovery that would change his life and that of his family’s: a tract of undeveloped land in remote Gualtallary at the foot of the Andes. He believed the 4000-foot elevation, sandy soil and 300 days of sunshine all made this the perfect location for a vineyard and winery. He was right.
The elevation provides warm days to fully-ripen grapes and, importantly, very cool nights to preserve the grapes’ acidity. The sandy soil is poor in nutrients and provides excellent drainage, causing the vines to develop a deep root system. And near constant breezes blow down from the Andes Mountains across the site that keeps vineyard yield low. From the very first vineyard Jean planted, he farmed organically and was certified organic in 2005. Domaine Bousquet has always used 100% organically-grown grapes to make their wines.
Domaine Bousquet Grows And Evolves
By 2011 Domaine Bousquet had grown past what Jean had in mind as a retirement project and Anne Bousquet and her husband Labid Al Ameri, along with Anne’s brother, purchased their father’s share in the company. Jean retained a 98-acre vineyard for his retirement and now sells those organic grapes to Domaine Bousquet. Somehow that seems fitting.
Jean’s commitment to organic farming has continued with the assistance of Domaine Bousquet’s Chief Agronomist, Franco Bastias who joined the winery in 2015. Domaine Bousquet now owns about 620 acres of estate vineyards, which provides about half of their production needs. The balance is sourced from a local network of growers that, with the assistance of Franco and Domaine Bousquet, have become certified organic and is raising the organic presence in the area. Franco likens organic farming to cooking without a recipe, requiring him be in the vineyard constantly observing the vines and the environment. Biodynamic principles are also being used in the vineyard and Demeter Biodynamic certification expected soon.
Tupungato is an arid region and climate change is making it even drier. And while an arid region makes organic viticulture possible, water concerns are real. Efficient drip irrigation is essential and all of the water used in the winery is reclaimed for irrigation in the vineyards.
Naturally Elegant Wines™ is Domaine Bousquet’s tagline. With their commitment to organic farming, and the addition of biodynamic principles, it is more appropriate than ever. Domaine Bousquet is Argentina’s largest exporter of all-organic wines and their wines can be found in 50 countries worldwide.
In addition to the environmental efforts outlined above Domaine Bousquet’s commitment to sustainability is supported by social and economic pillars as well. The social pillar is represented by the winery’s Fair for Life certification, which helps the very rural community around the winery by empowering Domaine Bousquet’s employees to direct funds to local initiatives. Anne Bousquet recognized early on that lifting up the local residents would also lift up Domaine Bousquet.
And, building on Domaine Bousquet’s significant social commitment, it is working toward becoming a Certified B Corporation, which recognizes that social commitment.
Let’s Taste Some Thanksgiving Wines
2021 Domaine Bousquet Sauvignon Blanc, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina — light yellow with aromas of oat hay, dried grass and citrus. Flavors follow with oat hay, pears, ripe apples and dried grass all supported by citrusy acidity. 12.5% abv. SRP $13
Lively acidity and bright flavors, without too many green flavors, make for a very sippable Sauvignon Blanc. Pair with appetizers or sip it while you tend the roasting turkey.
2019 Domaine Bousquet Reserve Chardonnay, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina — light golden with aromas of ripe pears and yellow apples. Flavors include ripe pears, pineapple, toast and hints of vanilla all supported by juicy acidity. The round mouth feel gives this wine a luxurious feel on the palate. 14.5% SRP $18
Just a kiss of oak with Chardonnay fruit flavors and clean acidity makes the perfect partner for roasted turkey, sourdough, apple and bacon dressing and mashed potatoes with gravy.
2019 Domaine Bousquet Reserve Pinot Noir, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina — light ruby with aromas of blackberries and dry brush. Flavors follow with blackberries, berry bramble, dark cherries and earth supported by drying tannins in a barely medium body. The finish is medium in length. SRP $18
Pinot Noir is Anne Bousquet’s favorite variety; maybe it was her upbringing in France that has influenced her preference. Pinot Noir takes extra effort in the vineyard, but Franco is happy to provide the additional attention it requires.
2019 Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina — medium ruby with aromas of ripe blackberries, earth and dried herbs. Flavors include blackberries, raspberries and dark cherries with earth, leather and dried herbs. Tannins are drying in a medium body and medium-length finish. 14% abv. SRP $13
The dark meat from a turkey is my favorite and I enjoy it with red wines. Add this recipe for mushroom, cornbread and kale dressing for the perfect pairing with both the Pinot Noir and Cabernet.
2018 Domaine Bousquet Gran-Malbec, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina — dark ruby with generous aromas of ripe boysenberries, blueberries, crushed flower stems and peppery spices. Blueberry flavors combine with crunch red fruit and spices with lively acidity. Tannins are grippy but fine in a medium+ body with a long finish. 14.5% abv. SRP $25
This Gran-Malbec is bursting with flavors and spices without being too ripe. Absolutely lovely!
2018 Domaine Bousquet Gaia Cabernet Franc, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina — dense ruby with aromas of dark fruit, black pepper and hints of leafy tobacco. Rich blackberry, red cherry and raspberry flavors are backed by notes of black pepper and tobacco leaf. Tannins are fine and drying in a medium+ body with a long finish. 15% abv. SRP $20
Cabernet Franc is one of my favorites any day of the week and this one is delightful with plenty of fruit flavor.
If you plan to cook your turkey on the grill these last two wines are the wines for that pairing; both are bigger and richer and will stand up to those smoky, grilled flavors. Add Emeril Lagasse’s andouille cornbread dressing and you will be “happy, happy.”
One of the things I appreciate about Domaine Bousquet wines, aside from their organic and many other certifications, is that the flavors of the grapes always shine through. Oak aging is always subtle and never interferes with my enjoyment of the beautiful fruit flavors of those organically-grown grapes. And these wines are an excellent value.
Here’s wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!
And thanks to Creative Palate Communications for organizing our tasting.