Organic Domaine Bousquet: Argentine Agronomist Franco Bastias Grows Sauv Blanc, Chardonnay

a line up of 6 organic soon to be biodynamic wines from Domaine Bousquet


Meet Franco Bastias: Chief Agronomist at Domaine Bousquet– 
At only 11 years old, Franco Bastias worked beside his parents picking up stems and irrigating vines in Argentina’s Uco Valley. Growing up, he learned all about pruning, binding vines, maintaining trellises, and picking grapes. Twenty years later, Bastias serves as Chief Agronomist at organic Domaine Bousquet where he oversees a team of 50 (and up to 80 people at harvest), and he’s responsible for 618 acres of vines on the estate, plus 30-35 growers.

Bastias clearly didn’t get there the easy way. He earned an Agronomy degree from the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, did an exchange year at the University in Concepción, an internship at the Carneros Vintners custom crush facility in Sonoma, and four years with Rutini Wines where he got to know the Uco Valley’s sub-zones and growers.

After a long day at work, in 2015 a 25 year old Bastias interviewed at Domaine Bousquet: “I arrived at the interview in work jeans, dirty boots, and really tired after working all day visiting growers for Rutini,” he says. Once hired, four years later Bastias was promoted to Chief Agronomist, reporting directly to Domaine Bousquet owners Anne Bousquet and Labid al Ameri; they appreciate that the knowledge Bastias has extends beyond book learning.

Franco Bastias at Domaine Bousquet

Indeed, Bastias says that working alongside his father, he learned “to feel what each vine needs” as well as to respect the real “plant whisperers,” the workers like his dad who tend to the same vines vintage after vintage. For example, Bastias wondered why about the yellowed Syrah canopy. One of the older workers told him not to worry: “The Syrah is just sad because it doesn’t have enough sun. Check back when the sky is clear.” Lo and behold, with some sunshine, the leaves looked great again.

“You are only as good as the people in the vineyard,” says Bastia. “They can make or break you.” Although young, with his background, he is also able to lead by example. 

One of the first large Argentine wineries to adopt organic practices, Domaine Bousquet is transitioning to biodynamic farming which is even more labor intensive than organic.  These methods require 30% more labor than conventional farming and around 15% more than sustainable farming. With this additional labor, “to minimize worker injuries,” says Bastias, “you need develop a synergy between technology and work in field.”

The first vineyard planted by Anne Bousquet’s father in 2000 is on track to be Demeter-certified biodynamic by the end of this year, and soon, all of their vineyards will be biodynamic, a regenerative farming process which improves the soil biome, an imperative to protect plants from global warming. 

A poet, a chess player, and a grad student, Franco Bastias is a winemaker to watch I learned during a recent ZOOM call which included videos from the vineyards and a guided tasting of six recent releases as well as information from a dropbox.

Why go organic? Read five reasons why here.

Today we share two white wines.
Soon we’ll get to four reds! 

Try Domain Bousquet organic Chardonnay with take out sushi for an easy yet special midweek meal!

The Organic Wines:

  • Domaine Bousquet Sauvignon Blanc 2021 

  • Domaine Bousquet Reserve Chardonnay 2019 

The Menu:

  • Figs with goat cheese and pancetta 

  • Grilled Eggplant with Tomato Bruschetta

  • Burger with oven fries  

  • Sushi 

Domaine Bousquet organic Sauvignon Blanc

 

Domaine Bousquet Sauvignon Blanc 2021 

ABV 12.5%
SRP $13
Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc

SB is very sensitive to sunburn, and needs warm days with cool nights. 

Color Very pale lemon

Aroma Grass, gooseberry, grapefruit, fennel
 
Palate Eureka lemon, grapefruit finish, lime, sour grass, a bit piney, could easily be mistaken for a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Very light and not very complex, however the pricepoint won’t break the bank and it is made from organic grapes. Yippee!

Pairing Goat cheese and bread, such a solid pairing and this is no exception. The goat cheese and fig appetizer works almost better without the pancetta than with it. If using it for a topping use a very light amount. The smoke, the garlic, the tart tomato and the meatiness of the eggplant works so well with the Sauvignon Blanc. Try it on a bed of arugula or spring greens as a vegetarian alternative to a meat entree. 

Domaine Bousquet organic Chardonnay

Domaine Bousquet Reserve Chardonnay 2019 
ABV 14.5%
SRP $18
Grapes: Chardonnay

Grown in sandy soils which helps with sun burn, and with low yields to preserve fruit and freshness.

Color Deep lemon, daffodil, or hay bale 

Aroma Butterscotch and tropical fruit, smells kind of creamy, pineapple upside down cake.
 
Palate I love the acidity on the palate. It is like fresh roasted pineapple on the grill. The oak is very nicely balanced it is integrated into the wine and brings the acidity into balance. 

Pairing While you don’t usually think about having figs and goat cheese with a Chardonnay, because of the acidity, this Chardonnay loves this easy appetizer. There is a richness from the pancetta and the goat cheese is fatty and tart like this Chardonnay. The smoke flavor from the eggplant  brought on by the smoker brings out a rich smokey texture and flavor to match the intensity of the wine and all works together. Chardonnay also worked with the oven fries going well with the herbs in both the bruschetta and the potatoes. While you would not necessarily pair a Chardonnay with a  burger, this is not a terrible pairing, possibly because it was a blend of lamb and beef, and with a generous amount of lettuce and garden grown tomato. It likes the char and the smoke, kind of like pineapple pepperoni pizza: the toasted cured meat and the sweet pineapple work kind of like this wine and the burger. 

Stay tuned and subscribe for more organic soon to be biodynamic Domaine Bousquet wines. Next round is red wines ranging from $13-$25 plus details about the vineyards and soils. 

  • Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 / SRP $13
  • Domaine Bousquet Gaia Cabernet Franc 2018 / SRP $20
  • Domaine Bousquet Reserve Pinot Noir 2019 / SRP $18
  • Domaine Bousquet Gran Malbec 2018 / SRP $25

Domaine Bousquet organic wines

 

 

 

 

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