The Luigi Bosca family has a 120 history of growing grapes and producing wines in Mendoza, Argentina. Alberto Arizu the great-grandson for the Luigi Bosca winery spoke to us today about the history of the winery, the family, and the Malbec grape. His great grandfather, originally from Italy, bought land in the Mendoza region is 1901 and started to plant grapes. He met the Bosca family who was from the Piedmonte region of Italy and had also moved to Mendoza. The two families merged together. His grandfather joined the company in the 1930s, then his father in the 1960s, and now Alberto joined in the 1990s. Alberto has tried to help grow the knowledge and appreciation of Argentinean wines around the world so founded the Wines of Argentina in 1993 and has been the president for the last 10 years.
Argentina is the #1 producer of Malbec wine in the world. They have 45,000 ha of Malbec vines planted. The country now exports $1 billion of wine. Alberto noted that traditionally in France where Malbec originates it is a fast ripening grape, but when it is planted at high elevation in Mendoza it ripens more slowly and gets a better concentration of fruit flavours. 60% of Argentina’s Malbec vines are planted above 1000m asl and are planted on their original rootstock. They are in a sunny desert area with alluvial soils from the Andes mountains that are poor in organic matter. So the vines must dig deep in the soil for water and nutrients. Water is controlled by using snowmelt to irrigate the vines. With this dryness though there is very little disease so it is very easy to have an organic or a biodynamic vineyard and winery.
Alberto noted that Argentina has 4 advantages of growing Malbec over the rest of the world: 1) altitude = slow maturation of grapes which lead to more concentrated flavours, 2) alluvial soil – poor in organic matter gives good quality grapes, 3) dry desert – they get less than 200mm of rain while vines need 600mm of rain each year, 4) they use the best water in the world from the Andes snowmelt.
Let me tell you about the Malbecs and other wines I was able to taste at this seminar.
My Tasting Notes of the Luigi Bosca Wines
Brut Nature NV ($29.99) – sparkling wine is made with 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir in the Traditional Method. It is bright, medium intensity lemon colour and has a nice toasted, oak and apple nose. It is dry, lighter-bodied with high acidity and very fine creamy bubble. Crisp apple, toast and lees on the palate with a bit of pepperiness. Longer length. Excellent quality. –
Finca Los Nobles Chardonnay 2016 ($35.99) – The grapes for this wine come from their oldest vineyard. The name of the vineyard is on the label. This wine is bright, medium intensity lemon in colour. It has a nice smooth tropical fruit, butterscotch and vanilla nose. Nice aromas! It is medium-plus bodied, very smooth, dry, soft and round. A thicker, creamy mouthfeel. Toast, tropical fruit and apple with a hint of oak and sweet spice toward the finish. Has some tart fruit mixed in on the finish. –
Malbec 2016 ($23.99) – A difficult growing year in Mendoza with less rain than normal so they had to make decisions on how to produce the best wine in these conditions. Grapes come from a variety of valleys and they try to produce a consistent style. It is a medium intensity translucent garnet to the core. Cranberry, red fruits and a touch of smoke on the nose. It is very floral and has minerality. The wine is dry, medium-bodied with cassis, sweet spices, bright red fruits, and red cherry flavours. It is very smooth, with medium acidity and very fine tannins. Red cherries to finish. Alberto says that this wine is made in a very traditional Malbec style.
Malbec Terroir Los Miradores 2016 ($34.99) – The Los Miradores region is in the Uco Valley which was once viewed as too cool for growing grapes. The climate is now warmer and in the past 20 years, 30,000 ha of grapes have been planted. Luigi Bosca started many years ago planting 50 ha to see how viable grapes were and have continued to add vines. This wine is a deeper translucent garnet colour. Red and black fruit mix with hints of floral and vanilla on the nose. It is fuller-bodied, very soft and round but still has medium-plus acidity. Vibrant, ripe sweet red fruits, sweet spices and vanilla. Fine, light tannins. Some tart red fruit toward the finish. Longer length. A very fruit-forward wine.
Gala 1 2017 ($35.99) – A blend of 85% Malbec, 10% Tannat and 5% Petit Verdot. 2002 was the first vintage of this wine and to Alberto, this wine is all about the art of blending. The beauty of Malbec plus the rusticity of the Tannat can make an interesting wine; plus the Petit Verdot adds more variation. The grape varieties are fermented separately before blending. This wine is deep, slightly translucent ruby coloured. The nose was not very open at the moment but I was able to get dark fruit aromas. It is full-bodied, with a thick and round mouthfeel. It has dark ripe fruit and sweet spices on the palate. Very soft ripe tannins and soft acidity as well. A plush mouthfeel. I also noted some chocolate flavour. There were some drying tannins on the finish and tart fruit flavours. –
Gala 2 2017 ($35.49) – This wine is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Merlot. No Malbec in this one. It was a deeper translucent garnet colour in the glass. Very aromatic! Red fruit along with a light vegetal component (in a good way) on the nose. It is medium-bodied, soft and round along with medium acidity. Very fruity; flavours of cassis and a mix of ripe black and red fruits, along with the vegetal note. Capsicum toward the finish. –
De Sangre 2017 ($28.49) – Another blend. This time we have 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah, and 7% Merlot. The wine is a bright, clear translucent garnet colour. It has a nice light intensity red fruit, oak and sweet spice nose. The wine tastes off-dry, is medium body and acidity, with a lighter mouthfeel. Red and black fruits, cassis and sweet spice flavours along with a touch of capsicum and pepperiness. A bit of drying tannins and tart juicy red fruit on the finish. Medium length.
Finca Los Nobles Cabernet Bouchet 2013 ($78.99) – We were told that their Cabernet Sauvignon and Bouchet grapes grow mixed together in the vineyard. The grapes are harvested and fermented together then spend 20 months in new French oak barrels. I was not familiar with Bouchet but we were told by Alberto that Bouchet is a very old clone from Cabernet Franc. In St. Emilion in France, there is still a little Bouchet grown. This wine is a deeper translucent garnet colour. It is very aromatic with aromas of ripe red fruit, cedar and vanilla. A beautiful nose. These aromas continue to the palate. The wine is off-dry with a thicker, silky round mouthfeel. Very fruity on the palate. Along with the ripe red fruits, cedar and vanilla, I also picked up coconut and chocolate flavours. Fine tannic finish. An elegant and sexy wine. –
Icono 2011 ($137.99) – This is their flagship wine and makes only 500 cases per year. It is a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon that comes from a single parcel for each grape. Parcel 41 for Malbec and Parcel 51 for Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is deep, almost opaque garnet in colour. You get ripe black fruits, chocolate, vanilla and cedar aromas along with some dusty chalkiness. The wine is off-dry, full-bodied, silky and round in the mouth. Medium acidity and fine tannins. Ripe sweet black fruit, cedar, vanilla, truffles, and chocolate flavours, along with kirsch cherries. Long lingering finish with medium drying tannins. Quality. –
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
The Malbec 2016 is available at 129 BC Government liquor stores and the Brut Nature sparkling wine is available at 12 BC Government liquor stores. All the rest will be available in private stores in limited quantities.
EverythingWine in North Vancouver has a good selection of all of the wines except the Icono, which will be coming to the market shortly. In a few weeks Firefly, The Gull, Everything River District, Cork & Barrel, Everything Wine Langford, New District, and Liquor of 248th will have an updated selection of Luigi Bosca wines.
The Los Miradores 2016 is available at Coal Harbour, EverythingWine in Langford, EverythingWine in North Van, Marquis Wine Cellar, and Liberty Wine in Langley.
The De Sangre 2017 is available at Liberty Wine in Langley, EverythingWine in North Van, EverythingWine in Langford, Legacy Liquor, and Liberty Wine Merchants on Granville Island.