Variety: 100% Cabernet Franc
Region: Tupungato, Alto Gualtallary, Argentina
Cost: $20 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: Intense violet color. Black and red fruit with spicy and mineral notes. Juicy and fruity with some tannin backbone. Full body. Pair with grilled meat, cheese, and chocolate.
My Review: Seeing a wine recommend pairing it with grilled meats always lights up my face. It’s an excuse to tell my wife we have to get steaks for opening the wine. It would be unprofessional not to (full disclosure: this blog is not my day job, it is not how I pay my bills). After a few eye rolls she usually relents–she likes steak, but unlike me she doesn’t believe it’s possible to eat a steak for every meal.
Which of course leads to me opening the 2018 Domaine Bousquet Gaia Cabernet Franc with a New York Strip off the grill, some potatoes, and some green beans. We’ll get to the pairing in a second, but let’s start with the nitty gritty of the wine itself.
In the glass it was a deep, opaque red with purple hues around the edges. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the wine “inky”, but it was definitely dark and wasn’t really letting any light through, even when held up to a light source.
On the nose the wine was a touch hot at first (it’s 15% alc/vol for the record), but after a few minutes of being open and letting the wine open up in the glass, I picked up notes of violets, berries, spice, and some soft oak.
In the mouth the wine was medium-full bodied for me. It’s fairly big, but it’s not completely overwhelming either. I got notes of ripe berries, chocolate, allspice, and some mineral/slate as well.
The bigness of the wine was a good pairing to the steaks–a NY Strip for myself and a Sirloin for my wife, both cooked perfectly. There was a good tannic finish to the wine that made me glad for pairing it with the steaks. The rich notes from the spice and chocolate also paired well with the grilled flavors of the meat.
For $20 this is a great value looking ahead to warmer weather (one day) and regular use of the grill. It definitely calls for something that can stand up to it–you won’t want to just sip on this by itself, but once Spring and Summer roll around, it’d be worth it to keep a few bottles handy for when you’re firing up the grill.
Editor’s Note: I received this wine as a free sample for review.