Thursday, December 14, 2023

Wines with Altitude: Domaine Bousquet Part II - The Ameri Label

In Wines with Altitude: Domaine Bousquet Part I, we discussed these estate vineyards 4,000 feet above sea level in Gualtallary within the Tupungato mountain range. To repeat, "In this environment, rainfall is scant, sunshine is plentiful, and the desert-like climate creates a massive 59° F day/night temperature differential. The area also has poor stony and alluvial soils that are interlaced with layers of sand and limestone. This diverse combination creates free-draining soils that, due to the already mentioned limited water availability, stress the vines.  The grapes react to these conditions by increasing skin tannins, concentrating flavor, and retaining acidity and aromas". 

Today Domain Bousquet is managed by founder's Jean Bousquet's son-in-law and daughter: Labid al Ameri & Anne Bousquet. al Ameri had joined his father-in-law full time in 2005 helping to build the winery while Anne joined the company in 2008. "In 2009, the couple moved to Tupungato full-time, assuming full ownership in 2011".

We were very fortunate to receive samples of two wines from their premium label, Ameri -- sourced from fruit from the Bousquet Estate Vineyard. Both of these wines are certified organic which has been the case for this vineyard since the winery's inception in 1997. 

Earlier this year the couple started the three-year transition to fully biodynamic farming even though they have also earned the Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC)™ status from the 501(c)3 Regenerative Organic Alliance. Thus, Domaine Bousquet became one of only four wineries achieve this status to date, and the first outside the United States to meet ROC™’s stringent requirements that pertains to food/produce, fiber, and botanical ingredients. The other three wineries are Fetzer Vineyards (CA), Tablas Creek Vineyard (CA) and Troon Vineyard (OR).

"The California-based Regenerative Organic Alliance (motto: “Farm like the world depends on it,”) has adopted USDA Organic standards as a baseline. ROC™ requires certification in three areas: soil health and land management, animal welfare, and farmer and worker fairness. Sensibly, potential members apply existing certifications from blue chip organizations such as Demeter, Certified Fair Trade, and Certified Humane, among others, to meet requirements. "

To repeat, the fruit for both the Ameri Red Blend and Ameri Malbec are certified organic and from vines first planted in the Bousquet Estate Vineyard in 1998. The vineyard is located in the Uco Valley’s Alto Gualtallery zone at an altitude of about 4,125 feet. The  Ameri Red Blend debuted with the 2011 vintage and bottles have been numbered since 2018. The blend is Malbec dominant followed by different percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot.  According to the winery,  the "Ameri Malbec is a new development, starting with the 2019 vintage when Domaine Bousquet winemaker Rodrigo Serrano determined that the Ameri Red Blend component wines were presenting so well that the time had come to showcase them individually, starting with the Malbec".

Ameri Red Blend 2020 ($37)
The wine starts with an earthy, barnyard, and mint aroma. Blackberries, chocolate cherries, and sharp tannins dissolve into a chewy, pleasant finish.

Ameri Malbec 2020 ($37)
The wine melts throughout the mouth, spreading evenly and relaxes the body. Seriously, a relaxing sensation. Cherry flavors pop with pieces of chocolate finishing with light approachable tannins.

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