“L’chaim!” is a Hebrew toast meaning “To life!” The new wine “Alavida” from Argentina’s Domaine Bousquet celebrates life in several languages right there on the label. Its name plays off the Spanish “A la vida!” which also means “To life!” If you’re looking for a wine that’s organic AND kosher AND affordable, meet Alavida, Argentina’s first USDA-certified organic and kosher wine, one of only a few wines worldwide to achieve this unusual status that’s also vegan, gluten-fee, and Ecocert-approved, and now in the US just in time for the first night of Passover tomorrow, Friday April 15, 2022, and Malbec Day Sunday April 17.
Four cups of wine?
Yes! Passover celebrates the exodus of the Jews from slavery. Widely observed, Passover rituals include gathering on the first night of Passover for Seder where Rabbinic requirement says four cups of wine are to be consumed during the meal by both men and women. According to wikipedia, the first cup is for Kiddush, the second cup is connected with the recounting of the Exodus, the drinking of the third cup concludes Birkat Hamazon, and the fourth cup is associated with Hallel. A fifth cup of wine is poured near the end of the seder for Eliyahu HaNavi, a symbol of the future redemption.
As an organic and kosher wine, Alavida is comprised of Malbec of exceptional quality, because USDA regulations prohibit the addition of sulfites (SO2) in organic winemaking; sulfites are a preservative which can also help to conceal flaws. Alavida vineyards grow at 4,000+ feet in the Andes, where the diurnal shift can reach 60 degrees! This means the warm days develop the sugars and fruit while the cold nights ensure balanced acids which heighten the purity of fruit, aroma, flavors, and freshness.
Essentially kosher wine and non-kosher are similar except ingredients such as yeast must be kosher, and the wine is only touched by a sabbath-observant Jewish team under the supervision of a rabbi. For Alavida, there’s a Jewish team member which handles grapes and wine, plus a regular team member beside them and directing.
So for example, in the winery, the Jewish team takes the grapes from the truck, uses the forklift, presses the on/off button at the sorting table, and everything is locked by the rabbi at the end of the day. This means that even the Domaine Bousquet winemaker Rodrigo Serrano can’t take a sample himslef, and great care is taken to make sure non-Jews do not touch tanks.
At the end of the process, the rabbi pronounced Alavida the best kosher wine he had ever tasted!
2021 Domaine Bousquet “Alavida” Malbec, Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina
SRP $19; available at select Costco warehouses for $13
4,700 liters of wine produced
Varietal: Certified Organic Malbec
Sample for my review.
Importer/Distributor: Origins Organic Imports. In addition to importing their own wines, Domaine Bousquet’s husband-and-wife team Labid Ameri and Anne Bousquet introduces U.S. consumers to well-priced, high-quality certified-organic offerings from around the world.
“Argentina is a nation rich in diversity, and our own multi-cultural family has been making certified organic wines in Argentina since 1997,” al Ameri observes.
Color: Medium plus density with a youthful plum tint and a ruby rim.
Aroma: Plum, blueberry, fruity, with a bit of oak, blueberry pie, blueberry jam.
Palate: Tangy and tart blue fruit with chalky, textural, tannins. Accessible and enjoyable with or without food. Definitely a New World expression of this Old World grape.
Pairing: It’s grill time! We roasted Brussels sprouts and a New York steak, plus we enjoyed a beet salad with this wine.
A fan of Malbec? We are too! We focus on Malbec at least on Malbec Day, and we have two more organic Malbec from Argentina coming right up. For more Malbec comparisons and pairings, check out these recent articles:
- Anne Bousquet’s Organic Domaine Bousquet Malbec (March 2022)
- Malbec from Margaret River’s Voodoo Moon Makes You Howl for Blue Cheese (January 2022)
- Susie Selby’s Sonoma Malbec for Malbec Day April 2021
- Music in the Malbec, Violinists in the Vineyard Sept. 2020
- An Introduction to Malbec: Wines from around the world, what to pair, when to share #MalbecDay April 2020
- Forlorn in France, Flourishing in the New World? Malbec! Feb 2020