Domaine Jean Bousquet Reserve Malbec
With the wines of Jean Bouquet, you'd be forgiven for thinking that we are down in the south of France. But we're not, we're up high in the Andes. It's an Argentinian wine, but very, very French in origin.
Jean Bousquet was a fourth generation winemaker in Carcassonne. He went on a holiday to Argentina and just fell in love with the place, the vineyards, and the possibility and potential that he believed was there. It wasn't until the late 1990s he actually decided to move.
Back then, Argentina was a growing market, exports were quite small, and most of Argentina's wines were either sold to Chile, or to North America or they were consumed at home.
Jean had a real vision for Gualtallary, which is very high up in the Andes, north of Mendoza. Where other winemakers in Argentina have sought to explore different style almost always around the malbec grape, but predominantly and to see how intense and how powerful they can make their wines, Jean Bousquet had always seen this place as having the potential for much fresher more French style.
And all the wines are made organically, which is a little easier in the higher altitudes of Argentina where you're starting off with new vines and you're in places that you know are relatively disease resistant.
Now onto the Domaine Jean Bousquet Reserve Malbec itself. Perhaps unusually, it doesn't see any oak, like you'd expect from a Malbec reserve. It's really quite fresh, with a lovely underpinning supporting acidity the tannins so finely balanced that you don't really notice them.
Instead, you get this wonderful wealth and weight of ripe fruit, bramble/blackberry, a little bit of chocolate or cocoa flavour, but not in that kind of drying powdery sense. And you also get some plums and damson fruits.
For me, this makes it into a really interesting Malbec. And, one more thing, as Steve Jobs would say. With a little bit of scratching beneath the surface you find out that it's not, in fact, all Malbec, but a blend of 85% Malbec with 5% Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Now, it's still called a "Malbec", simply because that's what the law allows, but it could almost be referred to as a "field blend".
But all in, it delivers a very, very smooth, really gorgeous glass of wine that is probably a more refreshing and balanced, digestible version of Argentina than perhaps we are normally used to. I really like it and I hope that you do too.