The Domaine Bousquet Merlot 2018 is made at a supremely high altitude in the Gualtallary Valley in Argentina’s Mendoza region. Jean Bousquet’s gamble that this region could produce excellent wine at over 5000 feet has paid off like nothing else. Today, Bousquet is one of Argentina’s largest producers, exporting 95% of their product. Jean’s daughter Anne, her husband Labid Al Ameri and winemaker Rodrigo Serrano are currently making the wines. Since the first vines went into the ground they have been grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. A true feat considering the size of their production. For a bottle under $20 it’s hard to beat a bottle of Bousquet.

Tasting note: The Bousquet Merlot is an interesting study in style; what can emerge from Merlot made in a traditional style, but made from grapes grown at extreme altitude.  The results are classic in aroma and flavor, with raspberries, plums, and strawberries making up the fruit, and baking spices, cinnamon and dark chocolate rounding things out. The flavors however are right at the edge of ripeness, rather than tipping over into the pot-of-jam, which is what you’d find in a Merlot from California for under $20. It’s straight forward, but with a crisp edge that makes it the very best drink to accompany your lunch of a burger and fries.

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