Happy Earth Month (April!), Earth Week (this one!) and Earth Day (Sunday!)!
How are YOU celebrating the Earth this month? Not sure?
Well, we have a few ideas (SURPRISE!) here on Wine Predator. Today’s post focuses on organic wine from Argentina’s organic Domaine Bousquet “Gaia” brand paired with a vegetarian South American menu.
The name “Gaia” comes from Greek mythology, and means not only Earth, but the personification of our planet. Gaia is one of the Greek primordial deities and considered the ancestral mother of all life; in essences, Gaia is the primal Mother Earth goddess. According to the Greeks, Gaia is the parent of Uranus the sky. The Romans called her Terra.[3
In the late 1970s, James Lovelock’s Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth proposed his Gaia hypothesis: “that living organisms and inorganic material are part of a dynamical system that shapes the Earth‘s biosphere, and maintains the Earth as a fit environment for life. In some Gaia theory approaches, the Earth itself is viewed as an organism with self-regulatory functions. Further books by Lovelock and others popularized the Gaia Hypothesis, which was embraced to some extent by New Age environmentalists as part of the heightened awareness of environmental concerns of the 1990s.”
So why Gaia? And why organic? It makes sense as a name for wines produced by Argentine’s leader in organic wines, Domaine Bousquet which answers the question of “why organic” by saying:
We are dedicated to farming organically while improving our land’s biodiversity. We believe that the healthier the vineyard, the better the fruit and of course the wine. In other words, by nourishing the land and treating it with respect, we know that the land will give us back its finest fruits.
Located in the Tupungato, Uco Valley of Mendoza, “the vineyard is situated on the foothills of the Andes at an altitude of 1200 meters/4000 feet above sea level which is among some of the highest worldwide and within the Mendoza region. Due to its location, Domaine Bousquet’s vineyard benefits from a cool climate and constant fresh air.”
MENU — Vegetarian South American:
- Various Spanish cheeses (from Trader Joe’s; thanks Diane!)
- Three cheese semolina bread (I bought at Vons)
- Empanadas with whole wheat crust (thanks Jason for making these!)
- South American Locro vegetable dish (thanks Helen!)
- Manchego Mac N Cheese (thanks Sue!)
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts (thanks Margaret for helping to make them!)
- Caesar Salad (with anchovies on the side; thanks to Margaret for your help preparing!)
- Cupcakes (I bought these at Vons…)
WINES — Domaine Bousquet “Gaia” Organic Wines from Argentina:
2016 – Tupengato, Mendoza White Blend SRP $18
2015 – Tupengato, Mendoza Red Blend SRP $20
Our group tonight loved these wines: we loved the bright fruity liveliness and how they paired with the foods. We loved the organic nature of the wines and the way they were blended. These wines are great on their own as well as food which followed a South American inspiration. Argentinean food is influenced primarily by Spain and Italy; we also chose to go vegetarian.
2016 – Tupengato White Blend – alcohol12.5% alcohol $1850% chardonnay 35% Pinot Gris 15% Sauvignon Blanc
Color: Lovely, bright, golden.
Nose: Very aromatic with vanilla and florals, honeysuckle, white flowers, citrus with more of a meyer lemon rather than a eureka lemon.
Palate: Sue said it was “bright, sassy, wakes up the palate, lemons, with a beautiful, long lingering finish. It goes on and on forever, minerals are present which lends itself to the glycerol, yet saline finish to this wine. not overly tart. Great mouthfeel and loves fatty rich foods.” For me, it has the qualities that one loves in a Chardonnay with so much more complexity and satisfaction. Diane felt that this was a wonderful white wine blend, rich with bee pollen, honeysuckle, white flowers, jasmine, with some honey on the tongue. Helen felt it was the best qualities of a chard and the best of a sauv blanc blended together.
PAIRINGS: This wine went well with the goat cheese and crackers: it loves the tanginess of the goat cheese. It was fine with the bousian cheese, but fought with some of the herbs, so go for straight creamy goat cheese.The goat milk gouda also was a brilliant pair with this wine and it was very nice with the brussel sprouts.
We all liked this wine; it was great with everything it was paired with. It is also cleansing and brightening on the palate. I would totally seek this wine out and buy it. Screw top make sit easy access for a party, a picnic, or another kind of outting.
2015 – Gaia – Red blend $20
55% malbec, 45% syrah, 5% cabernet sauvignon
Color: Dark, dense.
Nose: Lot of fruit on the nose. When I observe that I got cherry, another chimed in “sweet cherry,” then the conversation went toward Swedish fish, then to lingonberry, This a lively bouquet: vivacious, complex, with herbal qualities, boysenberry, and lingonberry, with some herbal notes.
Palate: Fruit forward, with a lengthy finish that has an herbal minty quality. There are enough mineralistic qualities that provide a long lingering finish. Diane called it the party in her mouth. This is a nicely balanced pleasurable wine.
This wine was a bit too fruit forward to this wine and may have been better with a sweeter dish like chocolate cupcakes — just avoid the frosting!
There’s a great story here about being attentive to the land and why and we looking forward to sharing more soon!
South American LOCRO: 3-4 servings
- 3 lb whole butternut squash, stemmed, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch chunks
Helen used organic yellow squash which was tender and easy to prepare.
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
In the summer, we’re going to try this with leftover organic roasted corn off the cob.
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
In season, why not use fresh, organic peas?
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
I will likely use only half this amount (or less) as I am not an onion fan.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 fresh plum tomato, chopped (or 1 tablespoon tomato paste)
We may or may not include this because my son doesn’t like cooked, chopped tomatoes; maybe just try the paste.
- 4-5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled or cut into small cubes
You could omit this for a vegan dish or use vegan cheese or queso, a Mexican fresh cheese.
- Heat large pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and sauté onions and garlic until translucent in color.
- Add frozen peas, corn, and tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add chopped butternut squash and reduce heat to low.
- Cover the pot and let cook for 20-30 minutes, until squash has become soft and slightly chunky.
- Five to ten minutes before serving, add feta cheese and stir. Serve and enjoy!