I hate to use the term “regrets,” but one of the adventures I missed during my six weeks of traveling across Argentina was spending time in Mendoza. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the land of Malbec in that region, however, I did spend a week traveling across the more northern wine region of Salta, which is a land of some of the most remote desert terrain I’ve ever encountered.
I’ve written about Salta for several outlets like my article for Coravin. It’s no secret that I have a love affair with Argentina and all the Malbec and lomo I ate during my trip (without gaining any weight, by the way). I visited wineries like Bodega Colomé, Piattelli Vineyards, and Bodega El Esteco outside the Salta town of Cafayate in the heart of Salta wine country. This is one of the most beautiful and remote wine regions in the world, and if you decide to visit, you are surely going the distance for Malbec (and other great Argentine wines like Torrontes).
Today, on Malbec World Day, I’m reminded of that trip, which was three years ago now. I was in Buenos Aires during the entire month of April in 2017, and therefore, I spent Malbec World Day there in my neighborhood of Palermo Soho. It was exciting for me as a wine lover to be in the country that put Malbec on the map on the day that it is celebrated around the world. Bravo to Argentina!
Of course, that is not where Malbec is from, originally. Malbec was born in the southwest of France in a region called Cahors. I’ve also written about this in an article celebrating Malbec for Coravin. However, the Malbecs found in this region are very different in style than those made in Argentina, for the most part. Malbec from Cahors can be more rustic and tannic, with less of that bold fruit flavors and more savory, earthy notes– like Argentine Malbec’s burly big brother. The altitude and sun exposure in Argentina means that Malbec from that country is usually bursting with ripe, juicy fruit and delivers with a smooth and rounded tannin structure. I won’t say that one style is better than the other, but I will say that both can be fully appreciated when made with quality as a priority.
Speaking of quality as a priority…
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of interviewing a wonderful Argentine producer for an upcoming radio interview on Linda Gassenheimer’s “Food, News, and Views” show airing on Wednesday. This week will be the Earth Day show, so I took the opportunity to speak with Anne Bousquet and her husband, Labid Al Ameri, about their sustainably-managed and organically-farmed winery, Domaine Busquet in the remote Tupungato region of Mendoza. I’ve also written about Domain Bousquet before, and I know their story well. It’s a wonderful one to share. (Tune in to hear the interview.)
Anne’s father, Jean Bousquet, founded the winery during a time when that part of the Uco Valley was completely undeveloped. It was desert land, and everyone thought he was crazy for wanting to plant vines in this desolate area. He truly went the distance for Malbec, and it has paid off in wonderful ways. Domaine Bousquet is a leader in sustainability and organic practices in Mendoza and worldwide. Their wines are affordable wines of quality that you can find in major grocery stores as well as smaller retailers and restaurants around the U.S. When in doubt about a bottle of wine to grab off the shelf, I always recommend Domaine Bousquet, and theirs are usually priced at less than $15. It’s one of the best deals in wine out there.
Today, on Malbec World Day, will you be enjoying one of these Argentine delights? If you need some suggestions, I’m happy to provide them. Reach out to me through my blog or find me on social media at @historyandwine.
Go the distance, for Malbec!