Wine Reviews: Argentina and Chile

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 02-11-2023

I’ve long yearned to visit the expansive Chilean landscape – to visit winemakers, immerse myself in the culture, surf some remote point breaks, and climb some rocks and mountains. It’s in the top tier of my bucket list, and I can’t wait to make it a reality. In the meantime, I have some bonkers-good wines from Viña Ventisquero. Started in the late 90s in the Maipo Valley, they’ve since expanded to Casablanca, Colchagua, and Leyda Valleys. Their Tara project is based in the world’s driest desert, the Atacama, and involves challenging conditions and soils, but the resulting wine I tasted is really something. The Pinots from the Leyda and Casablanca Valleys that show a lot of personality and freshness.

I also have some value-driven wines from Argentina’s Domaine Bousquet. This producer boasts almost 700 acres of certified organic vineyards, from which they source classic grapes to craft value-driven, expressive wines. These are really good options if you’re looking to stock up on some fun, crowd-pleasing wines from Argentina.

These wines were received as samples and tasted sighted.

2021 Domaine Bousquet Chardonnay Reserve Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
SRP: $18
Light yellow color. Aromas of golden apples, apricot and orange peel, along with honey, yellow flowers, some walnut and chalk dust tones, too. The palate shows a creamy feel with lively acidity, along with chunks of green and yellow apples, apricot, accented with peanut shells, lemon crème, sea salt and hat. A nice mix of waxy and lively tones, this is fun and straightforward but has good personality and complexity. (89 points)

2021 Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
SRP: $18
Light purple color. The nose shows juicy plums and blackberries, supported by violets, tar, pepper and mocha. The palate shows smooth tannins, a chewy feel, with medium acidity and flavors of sweet plums and currant jams. Notes of violets, light roast coffee, tar and mocha add complexity. This remains a fun but fresh and spicy Cab that offers a lot of personality for the price. (87 points)

2021 Domaine Bousquet Malbec Reserve Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
SRP: $18
Vibrant purple color. The nose is jammy and ripe with wild blueberries, dark plums, along with black pepper, sweet bell pepper, with coconut and coffee tones. The palate is juicy and bright with crisp acidity, smooth tannins and ripe black cherries and blueberry fruit. Juicy and fun but shows some nice complexity in terms of mocha, coconut shavings, scorched earth and dried roses. Accessible, well-balanced, solid value Malbec. (87 points IJB)

2020 Ventisquero Chardonnay Tara Chile, Atacama, Valle de Huasco
SRP: $52
A rich but slightly hazy yellow color. Oh my, the nose is interesting: like sea salt, brine, chalk dust and limestone infused with the lemon, quince and orange peel fruit, along with hay and white flowers. Gorgeous creaminess on the palate, with crisp acidity and a saline and chalk-infused vibrancy that is really appealing. The orange peel and yellow and green apple fruit is crunchy and delicious, and mixed with notes of honeysuckle, candle wax and almond skin. Exciting, fun, salty, unique – this is awesome, and I’d love to blind some Old World Chardonnay fans on this one and see them try to figure it out. From the Longomilla and Nicolasa Vineyards in the Atacama Desert. Exceptional stuff. (92 points IJB)

2016 Ventisquero Pinot Noir Herú Chile, Casablanca Valley
SRP: $45
Light ruby color. The nose shows a delightful mix of tart cherries, red apples and cranberry with rooibos tea, dried rose petals, some earthy-stony vibes. The palate shows smooth tannins and fresh acidity and a crunchy, tart red fruit appeal with cranberries, pomegranate and cherry fruit. The savory tones are wonderful, with black tea, pepper, spiced cranberry relish, basil and hints of tobacco. The effortless mouthfeel and nuanced flavors are really lovely. There’s a lot to love about this Chilean Pinot. (91 points IJB)

2017 Ventisquero Pinot Noir Grey [Glacier] Las Terrazas Chile, San Antonio Valley, Leyda Valley
SRP: $23
Vibrant ruby color. Ooh, the aromas are unique, with smoky, beefy, mushroom tones, over vibrant raspberries and red plums. Notes of roses, rhubarb, white pepper and paprika add delightful complexity. The palate shows crisp acidity and dusty-light tannins, with juicy cherry and tangy raspberry fruit. The wine has an interesting mix of airy-floral tones with savory elements, so this rose hips, rhubarb, mushroom and grilled steak combo is just delightful. If you like red fruits and savory tones in your Pinot Noirs, this has its own unique spin, and I’d highly recommend it. (90 points IJB)

Comments are closed.