Mention Argentina and most wine lovers immediately think of robust, Malbec wines.
And why wouldn’t we? These luxurious red wines taste great with steak, roasted chicken and other hearty foods.
That’s one of the reasons why I went to Argentina for two weeks 16 years ago – to learn more about its wine and this wonderful country.
But there’s more to Argentinean wines than ones made with Malbec grapes.
Recently, I was blown away by two, distinct, organic red wines from this wonderful country in South America.
One was a Cabernet Sauvignon.
The other was a Cabernet Franc.
Both came from the same, superb Argentinean winery – Domaine Bousquet’s Gaia Collection.
Best of all, you can often find these wines for less than $20 a bottle. Hope you enjoy.
WINES RECOMMENDED THIS WEEK
2018 Domaine Bousquet Gaia Cabernet Franc ($20 Suggested Retail Price)
2018 Domaine Bousquet Gaia Cabernet Sauvignon ($20 SRP)
BRIEF HISTORY OF ARGENTINEAN WINE
The fifth largest wine producing country in the world, Argentineans have been making wine since the 1500s. Initially, though, wine production was relatively small. Missionaries and early European settlers planted vines primarily in western Argentina near the base of the Andes Mountains. Then in the late 1880s, a railroad linking this part of Argentina with Buenos Aires, allowing wine producers to transport their wines to larger, commercial areas. Initially, most wine made in Argentina was consumed domestically. Then in 1990s, Argentinean wine makers began exporting more wine worldwide.
COMMON ARGENTINEAN GRAPES
In recent decades, Malbec has become the most common wine grape in Argentina, making up about 38 percent of all vines planted in the country. Red wines in general make up 60 percent of wine production in Argentina. Nowadays, you find wines made from almost any red or white grape, including:
RED WINE GRAPES
Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc
WHITE WINE GRAPES
ARGENTINEAN WINE REGIONS
MORE ABOUT DOMAINE BOUSQUET
French winemaker Jean Bousquet knew he wanted to make wine in Argentina soon after he vacationed there in 1990. He thought the high, arid terrain in Mendoza’s Uco Valley was “his dream terroir, an ideal location in which to nurture organically-grown wines,” according to Domaine Bousquet’s website. Bousquet and his daughter, Anne, and his son-in-law, Labid Al Ameri, began purchasing land here in 2002 and built the winery in 2005. The winery now produces about 1 million gallons of outstanding, organic, affordable wine each year.
WINE TASTING NOTES
2018 Domaine Bousquet Gaia Cabernet Franc
Gaia refers to the ancient Greek goddess of the earth. The Gaia Collection Cabernet Franc from Domaine Bousquet has a light, soft, subtle taste. There’s a slight hint of raspberry flavors but nothing sweet or cloying. Instead, this delightfully dry wine has an austere, slightly flinty finish, especially the second day after you first open the bottle. A truly wonderful red wine.
2018 Domaine Bousquet Gaia Cabernet Sauvignon
Let me start by saying I loved both wines for different reasons. While the Cabernet Franc was slightly drier, the Cabernet Sauvignon has a long, luxurious finish. This wine is also more full bodied, has brighter, more intense fruit flavors, including a hints of fresh cherry and dried blackberry. Let me add that its vibrant fruit flavors remained just as lively and interesting the second day. Another home run from one of Argentina’s best wineries.