This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Argentinian Red Blend under £15 went to Domaine Bousquet, Gaia, Tupungato, Mendoza 2013 (15.5%)
- Amalaya, Tinto de Corte Salta 2013
Domaine Bousquet was founded in 1998 by Jean Bousquet, a Frenchman from a wine-producing family in Carcassonne who wished to expand overseas. The parcel of land he was drawn to upon his arrival in Argentina was a 240-hectare plot in Mendoza’s Uco Valley in the foothills of the Andes at 1,200m altitude. In 2001 daughter Anne and her husband Labid Al-Ameri, based in Boston in the US came to visit, and were so enamoured with what they found they relocated to South America a few years later, taking over the business in 2010.
High-altitude vineyards present their own problems but provide great benefits. Rocky, unyielding soils stress the vines (in a positive way), giving more concentrated fruit, and there is a 25°C diurnal temperature variation which brings ‘European elegance’ to the wine. Rainfall is also extremely scarce here, with only 20cm per year – drip irrigation utilising mountain run-off helps where necessary to quench the vines’ thirst.
Anne Bousquet convinced her father to move the estate towards pesticide and herbicide-free viticulture, and it gained organic certification in 2005. The 20,000 bottle per year Gaia – a blend of 50% Malbec, 45% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon – exemplifies their desire to create a generous, pure-fruited yet refined Argentinian, organic blend.
Written by Decanter