Argentina is a long way away. When in Argentina, Mendoza is a long way away. Two hours’ flight time from Buenos Aires. When in Mendoza, the Uco Valley is a long way away. And almost at the end you find Domaine Jean Bousquet.
Domaine Bousquet is the story of a French wine producing family from the Languedoc region in the south of France who decided to up the roots and move to Argentina.
It is a bit difficult to understand how it must have been in the mid-90s, coming to the Uco valley. More or less desert. Probably not a winery in sight. A lot has changed since then. In the 90s Argentina was just starting to produce and export wine of quality. Today it is one of the “hot” regions for wine entrepreneurs.
Today, if you visit the Domaine Bousquet, it is a haven of peace, beauty, and fabulous views. But if you look at the land next door, that has not been developed as vineyard land, it is dry, arid and empty. Much like it must have been when the Bousquets arrived here originally.
Domaine Bousquet was on our itinerary when we were in Argentina earlier this year. We had planned a visit in the vineyard and in the wine cellar and a lunch. And what a visit it became. Head winemaker Miguel Lenin Martinez took us around the winery. We had for example a very interesting discussion about the use of oak and how it affects wine. And of the importance of irrigation in Argentina. Without water the vineyards would not survive.
We also talked about being organic. Bousquet is one of the pioneers in organic wine growing in South America. They are actually the biggest organic winery in Argentina! With some 300 hectares. So they have quite a few experiences to share. They are also a very good example of that organic wines can be very good. Can be outstanding.
And then it was lunch time.
Starting of course with a wine tasting. We tasted through a good part of the complete range of Domaine Bousquet’s wines, that includes a lovely sparkling that is also the perfect aperitif before lunch.
Lunch was in the shade, on the terrace, with a view over the Andes.
Not bad. Not bad at all. Totally excellent actually.
Watch the video (above) for some views of the Andes, the vineyard, and the lunch.
Our next wine tour to Argentina and Chile will take place in February next year. Book now!