Thirty years ago, Jean Bousquet, a member of a third-generation winemaking family from Carcassonne in the south of France, visited Argentina. Traveling around the country, he found himself in the Tupungato district of Uco Valley, a high, desolate area 5,250 feet above sea level. A wine professional, he could sense the barren region’s possibilities as a new viticulture area, so much so that when he returned to France, he convinced his family to buy property there. Ten years later, in 2000, the Bousquets planted their first vineyards in Argentina. Five years later they sold their first wine. Beginning with that first sale, Domaine Bousquet wine has been organic — a rarity at that time in Argentina.
Today, now owned and run by Anne Bousquet, Jean’s daughter, and her husband, Labid Al Ameri, the winery makes 50 percent of its wines from grapes grown on its own 700 acres of vineyards and buys the other half of its needs from neighboring organic growers. From these grapes it produces an average of 350,000 to 400,000 cases a year. Yet few of those cases are sold in Argentina. Although the wine is made entirely from Argentine grapes, in Argentina virtually all of Bousquet’s production — up to 98 percent of it — is sold outside of the country. The winery is, in fact, about the 15th-largest exporter in the country.
If not in Argentina, where are Domaine Bousquet wines sold? About 40 percent goes to the United States and Canada. Another 40 percent sells in Europe, especially northern Europe. And about 20 percent goes to Latin America and Asia.
Argentina’s relatively even climate generally allows grapes to ripen thoroughly and with excellent acidity levels. Domaine Bousquet’s lemon-shaded Reserve Chardonnay 2018, for example, which spent six months in oak, has balanced acidity, an intense fruit bouquet and creamy texture. Its equally well-balanced Virgen 2019, a Malbec, is dark-shaded with a deep, penetrating nose; it received no oak, no sulfites. And Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, with no sulfites added, has an earthy-shaded nose.
All are well-made, organic wines at affordable prices, ranging about $13–18 … the wine lover’s dream.
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