Portraitof a winemaker

Domaine Bousquet: discover the history, domain, labels, secrets and passions. Anna Caidan is in conversation with Ignacio Martinez Landa, Director at Domaine Bousquet
2018-07-03
Wine story

What can you tell me about the history of Domaine Bousquet?

‘So initially Jean Bousquet, a 3rd generation winemaker from the area of Carcassonne, went for a vacation in Argentina in the early 90s, and was really surprised by the landscape, and in winemaking, the definition of territory, they have extreme continental weather, being at almost 1300m above sea level, and with this excess of sun at 300 sunny days a year, he was very, very surprised by that. So basically, he returned to France, with a very clear idea in his head, by investing his lands, the winery they had in the area, in order to purchase a large amount of hectares in Mendoza, and there he started with this idea from scratch, when no one was really planting in that area, the land was really, really easy to access, not the typical prices of the most well-known areas at the time, so that was the beginning of project. Initially with the idea of being organic, because he realised that being organic in Mendoza is not that difficult due to the amount of excessive temperatures and excessive sun, and almost no humidity, so having that idea, Jean Bousquet started the project, with the first vintage being in 2002. Then Anne Bousquet, and her husband Labid Ameri, joined the project, and now they are the ones running the winery’.

What is your favourite step in the winemaking process?

‘I would say that I really enjoy, every time I am at the winery is the barrel tasting. I think barrel tasting, is kind of like that diamond in the rough moment, where you have that chance of doing a bit of futurology, trying to guess how things are going to be in years to come, and it is one of the most crucial moments for me, as I love what oak does to wine, but it’s so difficult to not overuse it, that’s one of the key things we do at Domaine Bousquet, in order to find, naturally elegant wines, because finding that elegance, and having the oak as a secondary role in this movie of wine is very important. Oak has to be something that adds to the whole but not too overpowering.’

What is the secret to the art of making Domaine Bousquet wines?

‘I think the amazing views of Anne Bousquet and Labid are key here. They are both very into business, in terms of their education. Anne is an economist, and Labid was a Wall Street trader, so they have an amazing capacity of understating business in general, and when you put that ability with their passion for wine, they achieve something that in winemaking, a lot of wineries struggle with, because the amount of wine that have around us is a lot, so finding a way to differentiate yourself, by being innovative, like the fact of being organic, and finding a profile that is very clear, is the key of Domaine Bousquet.’

What is your best memory since working for Domaine Bousquet?

‘I am the newest member of the team, so I think, so far, that I was very impressed when Labid told me his story. Labid was born in Iraq with his family having a business, and when Saddam Hussein took over, he told his family to leave the business and had to leave the county. So from a refugee, he then moved to Spain to study, with the clear idea, and a strong vision of working for Wall Street, Labid then moved to the US to study, and during his time at business school, he met Anne, and the story of moving from country to country, and then becoming the president of a winery, that is so successful right now is incredible. I listened to his story at a dinner with one of our key partners and I was blown away. So, it is a story that I keep very close to my heart.’

What is the story behind the labels?

‘The labels vary depending on the range, but what we like to do is represent the combination of French origin and the Argentine chapter of it, combining the old world and the new world, that’s why we always try and have elegant and sober labels. But then, when we get to a product like Gaia, which represents a combination of everything, as it is a blend of mostly Malbec and Syrah, so there you have both worlds very clearly, we thought of having a fresher label. We have a written permit from Angelo Gaia, to be able to use the name ‘Gaia’, as his daughter is called Gaia, and since it could be so confusing, the agreement was that if we do not make a label that has the intention of trying to be seen as looking like his product, we could use the name. For the new vintage, of the varietal line, we have fresher colours, trying to bring to life all the fantastic landscapes that we have in Mendoza, instead of the grey one we used to have.’

When is the best moment to drink Domaine Bousquet wines?

‘I would say, that since wineries in the new world, like Argentina, the best time, to drink would be at a nice barbeque with friends, because Argentinians share a lot, so sharing the wines in big groups is the best time.’

What type of food pairs best with Domaine Bousquet’s wines?

So, the best food would be meat, mainly barbeque, and of course beef, as Argentina is known as the beef country. Also, for the sparkling wines, roasted lamb pairs very well.

How would you describe the Argentinean way of life?

The world cup has begun, so the Argentinian way of life is totally transformed. During a time like the world cup, everything stops, forget about important meetings, weddings, baptisms or anything you can think of, you have to consider the football! And people may not attend your birthday, even for the unimportant games, Argentinians love football! Outside of this, the Argentinian way of life is a mix between Spain and Italy, the best and the worst aspects! The economy and the politics unfortunately look very much like the negative part of Spain and Italy, but on the positive we have the joy of food, the joy of life, of going out, having very close friendships that gravitate into everything we do. Even when people have great experiences and recognition while living and working abroad, eventually they return to Argentina, and in general we are very attached to our land!

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