Variety: 100% Malbec
Region: Mendoza, Argentina
Cost: $13 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: Intense violet color. Mushrooms, figs, and berries aromas. Medium body and round velvety tannins. Ideal with pasta and red meat dishes.
My Review: Malbec is one of those grapes that I feel like is filling the niche that California Cabernet used to fill – it’s readily available everywhere, the good ones are really good, but it’s also been commoditized to the point that it can be tricky to find those really good bottles without having to spend the equivalent of a nice evening out with a date.
All of this is to say that I’m increasingly wary of budget Malbecs much in the way that I am of California Cab; I know there’s good ones out there, it’s just a matter of finding them and knowing you’re going to have some fruit bombs along the way.
So which camp does the 2017 Domaine Bousquet Malbec fall into?
The simple answers is: somewhere inbetween
In the glass the wine was a nice violet color, and on the nose I picked up figs and berries, but none of the earthy mushrooms that the tasting notes advertised. Still, the figs added a bit of character rather than just “generic red berries”.
In the mouth the figs and berries carried through, joined by notes of blueberry, cherry, and raspberry, with a nice soft finish. While there were certainly plenty of berry notes to the wine, it did manage to avoid being a “fruit bomb”; I think the figs brought enough to the table personally.
My wife and I paired the wine with beef round steak that we’d smoked for about 6 hours (my wife let me buy an electric smoker…you should get one), brussel sprouts, and cauliflower mashed potatoes all with a peppercorn sauce on top.
Ok, so it really all comes down to whether I liked the wine or not. While I definitely liked it more with food than without, I liked but didn’t love it. That being said, for $13 it’s not a bad value, and it manages (barely) to escape being a fruit bomb. Not bad for a Tuesday night, but if you’re looking for something for a special occasion, I’d look elsewhere.
Editor’s Note: I received this wine as a free sample for review.