Argentinian Malbec. If I say Malbec, you think Argentina, don’t you? Well, that is with good reason. This wine native to Cahors, France, found its voice in Argentina.
As we celebrate Earth Day (4/22) and World Malbec Day (4/17) this month, I thought I’d open a bottle that fits both of those celebration criteria.
I received this wine as a media sample. No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.
How climate change impacted Argentina this year
Argentina, being in the Southern Hemisphere, harvested this last season’s grapes in April. I read that it was one of the smallest harvests in their history. (here’s a link a great article in Wine Enthusiast by Jesica Vargas)
Climate change caused late spring frosts this year in Argentina. They are just the latest. We’ve watched late frosts affect harvests all over France, in Italy’s Piemonte region. Austria was hit hard back in 2017. Fear of late frost keeps vignerons all over the globe up all night during the spring.
Beyond that, water was an issue in Argentina. There was less snowpack, so the berries were smaller. It was also a really hot summer. Yep, you’ve heard that before. Italy suffered from a very hot summer and drought conditions that had the Po River in Northern Italy drying up in some areas!
With all of this unpredictability, many have thrown in the towel and gotten out of the grape-growing business. So that has an effect also.
Amidst all this gloom, there are things to be grateful for.I’ll start with this bottle by Domaine Bousquet.
Domaine Bousquet was the 4th Regenerative Organic Certified Winery in the World. This relatively new certification has a motto “Farm like the World depends on it.”
They also became a Certified B Corp whose motto is “There is no planet B.”
So what do these certifications mean?
This is a commitment to “being a force for good.” Let’s break this down a bit.
Both of these certifications look at both environmental and social impact. Regenerative gets a bit more into the soil. If you have watched the movie “Kiss the Ground,” you will be familiar with ‘no-till” farming, which is a way to combat climate change. In fact, it is a way that we might even begin to reverse it. That’s really the root of the name “Regenerative.” This is a method of farming that doesn’t look to just “sustain”. It looks to make things better. While there are many things I love about this certification, the regeneration of soil is by far the thing that gets me most excited.
When you are not digging up the soil and exposing it to the air and the elements constantly, there is a whole network of life that develops. There are micro-organisms, and small animals, like nematodes, protozoa, and earthworms, all working together symbiotically to make the soil richer and healthier. They sequester carbon. They feed the plants. It is a circular system that is biodiverse and works best if we don’t mess with it!
Okay, enough with me waxing poetic on regenerative…here are a couple of our articles and videos you can look at if you are itching to learn more about this.
- Discovering Wine Country – Down the Rabbit hole of Biodynamic and Regenerative Viticulture
- Biodynamics Into Regenerative Agriculture
- Regeneration – Exploring Regenerative Viticulture for WWC22 with Jancis Robinson
Suffice it to say that Domaine Bousquet is looking to do good for the planet and people. So I endorse drinking up on their wines on principle! Beyond that, their wines are really tasty, and for the price point, there are few better values out there.
A bit of the Story of Domaine Bousquet
I wrote a bit about Domaine Bousquet earlier this year as I tasted their Reserve Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The quick story is:
Jean Bousquet visited Argentina on vacation and fell in love. He sold off his holdings in the family winery in France and purchased land high up in the Uco Valley in Mendoza. While people thought he was crazy, that this was too high up for grape growing, he dug in and proved that this land was perfect for growing expressive wines.
This place – The Gualtallary Valley
Mendoza, Argentina, is a region that sits at the halfway point of Argentina from north to south and presses up to the Chilean border in the Andes. Within that, you have the Uco Valley, which is a high-altitude region for grape growing. Dive deeper into Tupungato and then into the Gualtallary Valley, where these vineyards are on the Domaine Bousquet estate that sits at 4000 feet (that’s ¾ of a mile, straight up!) The climate here is high desert but with breezes coming down from the Andes, which are always snowcapped.
Today, he has retired to tending 99 acres near the family vineyards. His daughter Anne and her husband run the winery.
(I will have an opportunity to speak with Anne and her head winemaker Rodrigo Serrano on Monday via Zoom. You can look forward to hearing more about this winery and its wines.)
2021 Reserve Malbec
Pouring a deep ruby with a bright magenta rim that is dazzling, this wine then sucks you in with its aromas.
You find bright berry notes of cherry, blackberry, blueberry, and Boysen berry mixed with dried berry notes and cocoa, and sweet spices.
This wine, like the other Domaine Bousquet wines I have tasted before, punches way above its weight class. Approachable but nuanced, pour a glass, and you will return to sip and savor time and time again until that bottle runs dry.
You could sit and meditate on this wine, but it is so affordable that you really should grab a few bottles to share with friends.
While this wine is labeled as a Malbec, it does have bits of other varieties included to round it out.
It breaks down to 85% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, and 5% Syrah.
This wine ages in French oak for 6-8 months.
14.5% abv – This wine runs around $16.99
Pairing the Domaine Bousquet 2021 Reserve Malbec
What to pair, what to pair…we were having a day of recuperation, so something simple and delicious was in order.
We began with a cheese and charcuterie plate, blue cheese, some Grana Padano cheese shavings, and dried berries: strawberries, cranberries & cherries, fresh blueberries, hazelnuts, fresh red pepper, mint, and prosciutto.
Everything went beautifully with the wine.
For our dinner, we had strip steak cooked with a chocolate sauce and grilled zucchini and red peppers.
So, delicious wine from a winery that is looking to do good for people and planet. Drink up, my friends!
Robin Renken is a wine writer, author, content creator who is a Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
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Being half-Argentinian, I recognize my overwhelming bias, but Argentinian malbec has a reputation for a reason! Having visited their wine region and seeing the dedication and pride around this variety is also something to behold. We certainly know Bousquet but sadly didn’t get a chance to visit the last time, hoping to remedy that on our next visit…
I simply can’t get over how delicious and affordable Domaine Bousquet’s wines are. It’s another way that they are looking out for the planet. Making delicious wine affordable for everyone!