Boxed wines continue to push up-market, the latest entry coming from Domaine Bousquet, an Argentine operation.
Fresh from the vineyards of Argentina’s Uco Valley in the upper reaches of Mendoza, meet Natural Origins Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, South America’s first 3-liter box wines made exclusively from organically grown grapes. Fruit comes from the Uco Valley’s Tupungato zone, known for grapes blessed with an abundance of aroma, flavor and freshness thanks to the combined impact of dramatic day-night temperature differentials, gusty springtime winds, and intense, year-round Andean sunlight.
These are formally nonvintage wines, but both of the wines reviewed below — a malbec and a cabernet sauvignon — actually hail from the 2019 harvest. Thoughts follow.
NV Domaine Bousquet Natural Origins Malbec Tupongato-Mendoza – A surprisingly lively expression of malbec, this wine eschews the extreme density this grape often shows in favor of a brighter fruit profile. A strawberry candy note is unmistakable, with cherries and plums filling in the cracks. A hint of orange peel is evident on the back end, though there’s more than a little brown sugar to sweeten things up. It’s no masterwork, but at the equivalent of $5 per bottle — less than $1 a glass — it’s tough to complain too loudly. B+ / $20 per 3-liter box
NV Domaine Bousquet Natural Origins Cabernet Sauvignon Tupongato-Mendoza – A powerhouse of blackberry and black currants, layered atop a milk chocolate base. Lush but quite sweet, it’s a more blunt wine than the malbec, with a finish that tends toward the jammy. A cherry note is evident later in the game, maraschino of course. B- / $20 per 3-liter box