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Good Value Bubbly from Argentina – Domaine Bousquet

CaptureDomaine Bousquet is located in the Tupungato Valley, just south of Mendoza in the high plateau near the Andes Mountains in Argentina.  They released their first vintage back in 2005, and offer a range of various wines, including varietals, blends and sparkling wine.  We reviewed two of their blends, from their Gaia line, earlier – and you can read about them by clicking here.  This time we’ll look at two of the sparklers, in particular the ones made using the Charmat method, also known as the tank method.

Traditionally sparkling wine, as it is and has been done in Champagne, uses the Traditional, or Classic Method of production.  In this method, a still wine is bottled with an addition of yeast and sugar to create a second fermentation cycle.  As the yeast turns the sugar into alcohol it releases carbon dioxide.  In an open tank or vat this gas escapes, but here it is captured in the bottle, and it builds in pressure forcing the gas to dissolve into the liquid.  This is the source of those wonderful bubbles once the bottle is opened, the pressure can equalize, and the gas emerges.  That second fermentation occurring in the bottle is what distinguishes a Traditional Method sparkling wine from its close cousins.  Many sparkling wines are made using other processes, which provide varying results.  The Charmat method involves initiating that second fermentation in large tanks, which are kept under pressure to allow the carbon dioxide to dissolve into the wine.  This way, a large amount of wine can be finished at once, and then bottled at the end, again under pressure.  It is less expensive to do, and you will find the wines made this way less expensive as well.

We should note that Argentina is one of the largest per capita consumers of wine in the world, and that also applies to sparkling wine.  They love their bubbles, and only recently began exporting them to the rest of the world.  Much of the bubbly comes from the region in and around the Tupungato Valley, where Domaine Bousquet resides.

Bousquet Snowcaps

Picture courtesy of Domaine Bousquet

We have a white and a rosé, both bruts, and both made using the Charmat method.  Here they are:

NV Domaine Bousquet Sparkling White Brut – from all organic fruit grown in estate vineyards in the Tupungato, at the domaine bousquet blancfoothills of the Andes, this wine is 75% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir.  All the fruit is picked by hand, and the second fermentation is done in stainless steel tanks.  Our impressions:

The wine is a medium, golden color with green and orange highlights.  On the nose you get tangerine and apple, and a sort of sherry-like quality.  I also got a touch of butterscotch, although Cheri did not.  Any way you cut it this has got a lot going on.  It is fresh and bright on the palate, with citrus and apple flavors.  It finishes clean and long.  Quite good, and a perfect wine to serve as a toast wine at a party.  Retails around $13, and a good value there.

NV Domaine Bousquet Sparkling Rosé Brut – Very similar to the previous wine, however here the blend reverses to 75% Pinot domaine bousquet roseNoir and 25% Chardonnay.  Once again the wine undergoes second fermentation in stainless steel tanks before bottling.  Our thoughts:

The color here is a light, salmon/pink.  Lots of medium sized bubbles emerge, along with red fruit, primarily strawberry, as well as some orange and other citrus.  You get all that fruit on the palate in a wine that has some structure and good mouthfeel to it.  It is very refreshing, has good acid, finishes long and clean and just sort of does everything well.  This also retails around $13, and is a great value there.  We’ll put this one on our Value List.

Around the world, sparkling wine is very popular, and a frequent choice with all styles of food  If you asked me what to serve with a given food, and I had no clue what to choose (a very likely occurrence), I would default to Champagne.  Open a bottle of sparkling wine for dinner on a Wednesday night.  Why not?  It’s not just for parties and special occasions.

The two wines above at great choices for that.  You can much more about Domaine Bousquet on their website at http://www.domainebousquet.com/.

A votre santé!

 

 

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