If a new generation of wine-lovers needs an introduction to the quality and deliciousness of wines from Argentina, I think Domaine Bousquet is a great place to start. Being the largest organic and biodynamic exporter in Argentina, this producer has a broad lineup of well-made, value-driven, serious wines. I’ve followed this producer since 2014, and recently took a deeper dive into their lineup. There’s a lot to like here, from regional classics to new players in the rotation.
With some 670 acres of vines, they have classic Mendoza sites and varieties that speak clearly of their place and type, and some vineyards in the Uco Valley whose big diurnal temperature swings allow cooler-loving varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot to thrive.
This Spring, I attended a virtual tasting and discussion with CEO and co-founder Anne Bousquet and Rodrigo Serrano, who took the helm as winemaker in 2018. He’s in his mid-thirties, a Mendoza native, who races go-karts, and is a talented winemaker. He seems as stoked as can be on this project, and that shows in the wines.
I was excited to try their carbonic maceration Malbec, which are made in small quantities and available in a few select markets. “Combine Malbec with carbonic maceration and the result is highly appealing,” Anne said. The Bousquet team said this wine has been received well so far, and I can see why – super juicy, bright, still clearly Argentina but with that juicy, Bojo-esque goodness.
Bousquet makes both a Charmat and traditional method sparkling wines, because they know their market. “People are loving the sparkling in the United States,” Rodrigo said. They also saw the market growing for lower calorie wines, and though he was skeptical at first, he began researching and testing these wines in 2020 by removing some alcohol post fermentation. The end result, regardless of what you think of this trend, is a wine that has a good amount of flavor and personality, without much alcohol.
There are still values to be found out there, all around the world. For me, Domaine Bousquet is up there with the best dollar-for-dollar producers from anywhere, and their availability, and the diversity in the lineup makes them a solid choice.
These wines were received as samples and tasted sighted.
2022 Domaine Bousquet Chardonnay Lo Ca – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco
Light yellow color. The nose shows a fun, zesty approach with green and yellow apples and limes, mixed with tones of white pepper and spicy green herbs, honeysuckle. The palate is crisp and spritely with a light, zesty appeal and fresh limes and green apples. It has some nice tones of white pepper, celery seed, honeysuckle, dandelion, it has a light but complex feel with a bright, steely, herbal style. Low calorie or not, if you like Sauv Blanc or lighter Chards, this is worth checking out. (87 points IJB)
N.V. Domaine Bousquet Brut Rosé – Argentina, Mendoza
Pale copper color. The nose shows a mix of crushed sweet tarts and seashells over top of red apple, orange peel, with notes of chalk dust, dandelion, and floral perfume. Crisp and punchy on the palate, this is light and fun with bold bubbles and chalky, salty freshness throughout. Red apples, watermelon, white peach, the fruit has slight notes of honey and bread dough, with nuances of white flowers, rose petals, spiced tea. Sparkling wines in the $15 range can be a minefield (especially if you don’t like sugary-sweet, off-balance wines) – this is a diamond in the rough. A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made via the Charmat method. (88 points IJB)
2021 Domaine Bousquet Red Blend Virgen – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
Vibrant purple color. The nose shows smoky figs, strawberry jam, with spicy and tangy cranberry relish, along with notes of rose petals, violets, and mint chewing tobacco. Ripe tannins, soft and plush, with acidity that keeps things lively and fresh. Fun and accessible style, but the fruit tastes legit, with complexities of tangy red berries and fig compote. The notes of dried flowers, bay leaf, pepper, and tobacco add a lot to enjoy, and it has this fresh, mineral, dusty finish. A lot of personality and complexity, especially considering the price. Would be a great by-the-glass wine at a grill or bistro. (88 points IJB)
2021 Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon Virgen – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
Deep purple color. A very interesting spicy note kicks off the nose, like black pepper, red pepper, and brisket, over tangy plum and tart currant fruit, with notes of rose petals and tobacco – love it. Light tannins and fresh acid, it has a crushable feel but the mouthfeel, balance, and complexity show a serious wine, even at this price point. The fruit is juicy and fresh (blackberries and raspberries) and blended well with interesting notes of graphite, campfire grill, roasted red pepper, bacon fat, some coffee grounds, too. So much personality and value. (89 points IJB)
2021 Domaine Bousquet Malbec Virgen – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
Medium purple color. The nose has a pleasantly smoky appeal with earthy, saucy vibes, juicy black cherries, blueberries, raspberries, with some spiced tea, violets, and black pepper. Light tannins frame the juicy fruit well, with flavors of black cherries and juicy dark plums, balanced well with fresh acidity. There are a lot of fun summery notes of barbecue sauce, charcoal, grilled steak and vegetables, some notes of violets and tobacco. Another easy six-pack buy for the summer, or a wine that’d be great as a by-the-glass option as well. (87 points IJB)
2022 Domaine Bousquet Malbec Nouveau Gaia – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
Juicy light purple color. So springy and fun on the nose with sweet red plums, juicy red cherries, and raspberries, sweet but vibrant fruit, laced with rose petals, rhubarb, some black tea, all sorts of red flowers and inviting elements. Suave tannins, smooth and fresh on the palate, lively acidity, and the fruit gushes with red plums and raspberry jam. Fun and chewy but complex and balanced, with earthy, peppery, floral subtleties, with some clove and tobacco tones. Mouthfeel is blissful, and this is just so much fun. Malbec that undergoes carbonic maceration. (90 points IJB)
2020 Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Franc Gaia – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Gualtallary
Vibrant purple color. The nose kicks off with a pleasant, spicy mix of tobacco, sage, clove, anise, over top of raspberries, red cherries, and tangy summer plums. The palate shows light-dusty tannins, lively acidity, and a tart, crunchy core of raspberries, red apple, and red cherries. There are a lot of complex floral and spice tones to appreciate in here (campfire, anise, bacon fat, tart, earth). Fun and fresh, could even be nice with a slight chill on a warm day, but the complexity and balance is really nice. (89 points IJB)
2020 Domaine Bousquet Red Blend Gaia – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
Dark purple color. The nose is a nice mix of roasted and jammy fruits (plums, raspberries, black currant) along with an interesting mix of roasted red pepper, cracked black pepper, tar, black tea, and mocha. A chewy but vibrant approach with fresh raspberries, ripe black cherries, and some tangy blueberry. The peppery, beefy, smoky, earthy tones add a lot of complexity and food-friendly vibes, and I get some floral and herbal tones, too. The first wine that launched Bousquet’s Gaia line, this is a blend of Malbec, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. (89 points IJB)
2019 Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon Gaia – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Gualtallary
Light purple color. The nose shows a mix of grilled black fruits, roasted figs, tart cranberry, with plenty of smoky earth, graphite, grilled steak and mushrooms, some anise and leather – lovely. On the palate, this shows a suave mix of medium acidity and smooth tannins with plummy, saucy fruit, like black cherries, roasted plums, currant jam, along with notes of pepper, anise, charcoal, minerals. Fresh and accessible but shows a lot of depth, balance, and flavors. Really solid for the price. (89 points IJB)
2019 Domaine Bousquet Malbec Gaia – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Gualtallary
Vibrant purple color. Aromatically, this boasts juicy black cherries with spicy, red-fruited notes of cranberry relish and tart red currants, laced with savory tones of smoke an leather, tar, violets, potting soil. The palate shows a lovely mix of crisp, fresh acidity, with dusty tannins and a bright, juicy mix of plums, black cherries, raspberry jam, along with a host of smoky, minty, charcoal, earth, roasted red pepper tones. Fun and fresh but savory and complex, this would be a great option at a steak house or bistro. (90 points IJB)
2021 Domaine Bousquet Pinot Noir Reserve – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
A deep ruby color. Delightful nose of warm cherry and raspberry compote, with rose petals, warm clay, rich soil, with complex savory and spicy tones to coax out (pepper, leather, tobacco). The palate shows supple tannins, fresh acidity, and a pleasant balance between those elements and the deep but tangy fruit (black cherries, raspberries, strawberries). The savory, earthy, spicy, floral tones are impressive, and offer a lot to parse through and enjoy. A whole lot of complexity and a serious Pinot Noir for this price point. (90 points IJB)
2020 Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon Gran – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
Deep purple color. The nose shows a delightful mix of tangy red currants with the juiciest black cherries, topped in notes of charcoal, smoky earth, savory herbs and spices, black pepper, tobacco. The palate shows well-rounded tannins for structure and moderate acidity for balance, and the flavors of red/black currants and cherries and delicious and the wine maintains a dark but fresh appeal. Lots of earthy, stony, graphite vibes, along with charcoal, earth, dried violets, and oregano, with nuances of mocha and toffee woven in well. Wow, the value here is really impressive – a serious Cab for $20, this would make a great house wine! (91 points IJB)