During an online discussion earlier in the year, Anne Bousquet, co-owner of Domaine Bousquet with her husband Labid Al Ameri, told the assembled group that Domaine Bousquet is the only winery in Argentina whose entire production is certified organic. Their annual production is about 7 million liters, which represents 65% of Argentina’s organic wine export.
Domaine Bousquet is located at about 4000 feet above sea level in Gualtallary, Tupungato, Uco Valley south of Mendoza city. The land was wild when Jean Bousquet, Anne’s father, purchased it in the 1990s and has been farmed organically from the very beginning.
In the little more than 25 years since the winery was established, the winery has earned a very long list of certifications: Organic, Biodynamic, Regenerative Organic Certification, Fair for Life, BCorp, Vegan, Kosher.
After introducing Domaine Bousquet in our last post, today’s post is part 2 of a tasting that will focus on the Virgen and Gaia lines of wine. Virgen is named for the virgin landscape that first attracted Jean to Gualtallary. Gaia is named for the Greek goddess of Earth and is sourced from estate vineyards. We received these wines as tasting samples.
The Virgen and Gaia wines are both certified organic, but to two different US organic standards: USDA Organic and Made With Organic Grapes. Yes, it’s confusing. The US requires the distinction in certified organic wines sold in the US based on whether sulfites were added during winemaking or not.
Sulfites are routinely added during winemaking for “their antibacterial and antioxidant properties”, according to Isabelle Legeron MW, “and can protect against wine faults that include volatile acidity (VA), brettanomyces (brett), mousiness and oxidation, for example.” Making wine without the addition of sulfites requires clean grapes, immaculate equipment in the winery and extra attention from the winemaking staff — clearly a task Domaine Bousquet’s head winemaker, Rodrigo Serrano, has in hand.
USDA Organic: no sulfites may be added during winemaking. Only naturally occurring sulfites (less than 10 ppm) are allowed.
2022 Domaine Bousquet Virgen Chardonnay, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina — medium yellow with generous aromas of grapefruit, barely ripe pears and melons. Flavors include pears and melons with citrusy acidity. The finish is juicy and clean. 13.5% abv. SRP $13
2021 Domaine Bousquet Virgen Malbec, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina — dark ruby with aromas of blackberries and blueberries. Flavors include ripe cranberries and blackberries with juicy acidity and drying, smooth tannins in a medium body. 14% abv. SRP $13
2021 Domaine Bousquet Virgen Cabernet Sauvignon, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina — medium ruby with generous aromas of boysenberry and blackberry compote. Flavors include blackberries, currants, berry bramble, earth and hints of leather. Tannins are drying and the finish is juicy in a medium body. SRP 14% abv. SRP $13
These wines are bright, fresh and juicy. Virgen wines are made without oak aging.
Made With Organic Grapes: sulfites may be added during winemaking, up to 100 ppm, and added sulfites must be disclosed on the label.
This group includes the wine that launched the line and the most recent addition to the Gaia line.
2020 Domaine Bousquet Gaia Cabernet Franc, Gualtallary, Mendoza, Argentina — dark ruby with generous aromas of cedar, perfume, red and dark fruit and dried herbs. Flavors include red currants, blackberries, dried herbs, tobacco and dusty earth. Tannins are grippy and very drying in a medium body with juicy acidity. 14.5% abv. SRP $20
This Cabernet Franc is the newest addition to the Gaia line, and most welcome. 100% Cabernet Franc was hand harvested and aged in French oak for 10 months.
We shared this wine with a friend who loves Cab Franc as much as we do and he gave it a solid thumbs up. He suggested laying this Cab Franc down for a few years, certain it would become even more delicious.
2019 Domaine Bousquet Gaia Malbec, Gualtallary, Mendoza, Argentina —dense ruby with aromas of ripe blueberries, dusty earth and berry bramble. Flavors include blueberries, blackberries and earth with grippy, drying tannins in a medium body with a juicy finish. 14.5% abv. SRP $20
The delicious fruit flavors confirm why Argentina’s Malbec is so highly regarded. 100% Malbec is hand harvested and aged for 8 to 10 months in French oak.
2019 Domaine Bousquet Gaia Cabernet Sauvignon, Gualtallary, Mendoza, Argentina — medium ruby with generous aromas of ripe blackberries, currants, earth and cedar. Flavors include tart cherries, blackberries, pomegranates, cedar, earth and tobacco. Tannins are grippy in a medium body with a juicy finish. 15% abv. SRP $20
Rodrigo Serrano acknowledges Malbec’s place at the top of red wine production in Argentina, but believes Cabernet Sauvignon can challenge Malbec in terms of quality in Gualtallary. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is hand harvested and aged in French oak for 8 to 10 months.
2020 Domaine Bousquet Gaia Red Blend, Gualtallary, Mendoza, Argentina — medium ruby with aromas of crushed flower stems, cocoa and dark fruit. Flavors include mixed berry flavors and dark currants with dusty earth. Tannins are drying and grippy in a medium body with a juicy finish. 14.5% abv. SRP $20
This is the wine that launched the Gaia line. The blend is 50% Malbec, 45% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, all hand harvested and aged for 10 months in French oak.
During the afore mentioned presentation Rodrigo talked about how an idea for a line of wines is developed between himself, Anne and Labid. He executes the plan, which may not be successful the first time, but he takes notes and learns from every experience; in this way the wines evolve. No wine is bottled before it meets the team’s high standards. Rodrigo shared that he often consults with Jean Bousquet too. How nice that the man who started it all is still influencing winemaking at Domaine Bousquet.
In all the years we have been tasting Domaine Bousquet’s wines we have never tasted off flavors or aromas of any kind. The wines have always been balanced and flavorful. We have no hesitation recommending Domaine Bousquet’s wines to those who appreciate organic wines, but particularly to those who have yet to try them. You will find Domaine Bousquet’s wines in most major US markets. For those of you who prefer a more sustainable option than wine in glass bottles, Domaine Bousquet gives you the option of bag-in-box packaging as well. Nothing escapes their notice.
Thanks to Creative Palate Communications for organizing our tasting.