By Celia Strong
In Argentina, wine is a part of their everyday lives, just like in many European countries.
Argentina country has a population of 42 million and is four times bigger than France. This population is a blend of Spanish, Italian and native Indians. And their culture is a blend as well. Music styles all mixed together. Language, in some parts of the country, is totally unique. European foods are mixed with local ones. We know it’s the land of beef, but fresh vegetables and fruits are always served, as are lots of pastas and fresh fish.
And, of course, the wines.
Over five centuries, Argentina has developed a special and distinct viticulture. Partly it’s the altitude of most of their vineyards, partly it’s their climate, partly it’s the assorted soil types that are dry and fertile, partly it’s the pureness of melted snow for irrigation. And, not the least, it’s the sharing and enjoying of wine in their everyday lives.
For our wine, we are going to visit the Arizu family. Four generations of them have been dedicated to wine.
Originally, the family came from the Basque area, between France and Spain, in the 18th century. In 1890, Leoncio Arizu went to Argentina. In 1901, he founded a winery in Mendoza. He met and partnered with the Bosca family who had come to Mendoza from the Piedmont area of Italy.
Today, 114 years later, their partnership, and the source of our wine for this week, is still called Bodega Luigi Bosca-Arizu Family. It’s still run by Leoncio’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And, it’s very definitely, a leader in the local wine business.
In 1989, Bodega Bosca was instrumental in the formation of Argentina’s first legal appellation: Lujan de Cuyo Controlled Denomination of Origin. CDO. (And, yes, we have the Bosca DCO Malbec.)
The winery is in Lujan de Cuyo, built where an old mill used to be. And, the Don Bosca School of Viticulture is there too.
One goal of the Bosca company has always been to find and use the best terroirs for each of their wines. A terroir is a specific site where the chemical and physical condition of the soil and the climate come together to make unique grapes and wines.
The altitude, the angle the vines to the sun, the slope of the vineyard, the drainage of rain, number of hours of sunlight are many little things that together make a big difference.
In addition, biodynamic farming is seen as the best way to optimize what nature has started.
Our wine is the result of one of these locations: Los Miradores.
Los Miradores is the name of a specific vineyard in Lujan de Cuyo, at an elevation of 3,772 feet. In fact, it is the highest vineyard owned by the Arizu family and it is planted with 100 percent Malbec vines that are 10 years old.
The Los Miradores Malbec wine has an intense violet red color with black rims. Its aromas are ripe berries, dark fruits, dried figs and quince, all mingled with some cedar notes. The flavors are almost endless. Clove and nutmeg, plums, raspberries, berries and cherries. Violets. Chocolate.
Eucalyptus, cedar and mint.
In your mouth this is a powerful wine, with a roundness and sturdy structure. And it has slightly sweet tannins. As powerful and intense as it is, Los Miradores is also fresh and lively.
And there are only 1,000 cases made every year. So, it’s not a big vineyard. Really. And, get this. Los Miradores costs less in Beaufort than it does in Mendoza.
For $26.99. Enjoy.