- 2021 Domaine Bousquet Malbec, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Argentina ($8.99 @Trader Joe’s, California)
There was a time when seeing the word “organic” was a warning sign. Not so long ago organic wines, were – in a word – funky. Not in a good way. All that has changed now, especially for this particular wine which was awarded 90 points by Wine Spectator.
We have featured wines from Argentina’s Uco Valley before, but this is our first ever visit to the subregion of Tupungato. Tupungato is the northernmost subregion of the Uco Valley and is one of the more important subregions within the whole of Medoza, Argentina’s powerhouse wine region.
The small town of Tupungato is roughly 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of the city of Mendoza, along the western foothills of the Andes mountains. The region lies at the foot of the Mt Tupungato volcano, which, at 6,570 meters (21,555ft) high, is one of the highest peaks in Argentina. The altitude of the vineyards brings clarity of light, water and air and moderates the high temperatures associated with lower vineyards.
The average vineyard sits at an altitude of 1,300 meters (4,200ft) above sea level. Sunlight exposure at this high an altitude is more intense than in lower-lying areas.
However the altitude also means that nights are much colder, cooled by westerly winds from the Andes. The nightly cooling extends the ripening period, letting grapes develop rich character while retaining acidity.
Tupungato is in the rain shadow of the Andes and, as such, experiences very little rainfall. Most vineyards are drip-irrigated using Andean meltwater, and winemakers have a high degree of control over the amount of water that the vines receive during the growing season, which is over what we in the northern hemisphere think of as winter. So while the 2021 vintage is still relatively young, it is some 6 months less young than a wine from the other side of the equator. These grapes would have been harvested nearly two years ago.
The vines are mainly planted on stony, free-draining soils. The lack of water stresses the vines, reducing vigor and yields and causing them to grow small, concentrated berries. (It may be counter-intuitive, but these are all good things when it comes to winemaking.)
Domaine Bousquet’s premium varietal series comprises a blend of estate and purchased fruit from the Uco Valley. The grapes benefit from major diurnal temperature swings, achieving exuberant ripeness while retaining the juiciness that invite a second glass. The wines are vinified with a French sensibility. The wines are un-oaked – an on-trend sensibility of little or no oak to let the fruit shine through and make the wines extremely food-friendly.
100% orgainc Malbec, fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve its varietal typicity and achieve a fruity and expressive character.
Pours a dark violet color. On the nose, it presents intense aromas of blackberry with notes of red and blackcurrant and plum. The mouth highlights notes of ripe plums with soft and elegant tannins.Ends with fresh acidity and a hint of dried orange peel. Would pair well with pastas, red meats, and cheeses.
Domaine Bousquet currently ranks in the top 20 Argentine wineries in terms of exports and is the leader in organic wine.
If your weekend finds you shopping at your local TJ’s, keep an eye out for our Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine. It’s a shopping list comprised of our most recent reviews.
If you’re headed to Costco soon, you can find our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list of Costco wine finds.