Bodega Luigi Bosca, Premier Argentine Wine with Deep Family Roots

iconoI knew when I met Alberto Arizu, Jr., Commercial and International Affairs Director for Argentina’s Bodega Luigi Bosca winery, I would love him.  I am already a friend and fan of his brother Rodrigo, and his winery Vina Alicia.  I was, however, looking forward to meeting Alberto Jr., who is the 4th generation of the Arizu family at one of the oldest wineries in Argentina, to see how he compared.  To my delight, at a luncheon held a few weeks ago at Sevy’s, I found him to be as eloquent, gracious and charming as his younger brother, and speaks as passionately about growing grapes in Argentina and making high quality wine as some of the best wine makers in the region. 

Bodega Luigi Bosca was started over 100 years ago by Alberto’s great, great grandfather Don Leoncio Arizu, who had migrated to Argentina from the Navarra region of Spain at the age of 7, basically to create a better life for himself.   Don Leoncioplanted his first vines in 1901 from European vines withthe hope to establish his own winery.  Withdedication and time the vines went through many adaptations and cross-cultivations to become the refined grapes that could thrive in Mendoza, Argentina’s environmental conditions.  Though challenging, Don Leoncio’s passion was unmatched and his dedication and skill led the winery to become one of the most accomplished in the region at the time of his death in 1962.  

Today Don Leoncio’s grandson, Alberto Sr., is head Winemaker and Agronomist.  The winery leads the way in  promoting the wine of Argentina to the international market, with a commitment to making high quality, refined wine that displays both the beauty of the land, and the pride and creativity of it’s winemakers.

Bodega Luigi Bosca makes three lines of wine,; an every day wine under the Finca La Linda label, which is approachable, easy drinking and not overly complex.  The wines are bottled young, and expected to be drunk young, and are solid representations of the Argentine fruit.  The Torrontes, the signature white wine of Argentina, is filled withsweet flowers and citrus aromas, with a bit of lemon, peach and grapefruit zing on the palate.  I love introducing people to Torrontesbecause the first impression is always that it is going to be a sweet wine, due to the floral characteristics on the nose, but withthe first taste there is often and element of surprise, because the fruits balanced acidity steps in with a flavorful kick.  The La Linda Malbec is a fruity, youthful variation on the signature varietal of the country.  Exhibiting intense cherry and spice flavors, the wine is aged 3 months in French oak barrels, adding finesse and structure to the wine.  They also make a Bonarda in the Finca La Linda line.  I am a big fan of the Bonarda grape.  A deep, fruity red made from the most widely planted grape in Argentina, Bonardatends to be great food wines, pairing well with anything from hearty beef dishes to pastas and risottos made at Argentina Asados (traditional barbecues) held every Sunday by families throughout the region.   The wine included in the Finca La Linda line are usually about $11-$12 a bottle.

The wine included in the Luigi Bosca Reserva line tend to be more refined than the Finca La Linda line, made from some of the oldest vines in the country (averaging around 80 years old.)  The Malbec is made in the Lujan de Cuyo region, in the north eastern portion of Mendoza, the first official DOC region created in 1989 establishing strict guidelines regulating the farming and production techniques for the region.   DOCsare commonplace in Old World wine making, but not so common in the New World regions.  The wine, a true representation of the land, the soil and region is filled with Morellacherries, plum and earthy richness, and was an excellent pairing to wild game sausages with Sevy’s signature barbeque sauce. Most of the Reserve wines are available for around $20-$25 a bottle.

Selectos de Familia Arizucomprise the high end wine for the Bodega, and include great blends for the winery.  Argentina is famous for their 100% Malbec selections, but I have always loved their blends, mainly because they are not held to some of the old world regulations, so they can make incredible blends from the best grapes available for that particular vintage.  One year a Cab-Malbec blend can be 60% Cab/40% Malbec, the next year it can be reversed; the goal is to make the best wine you can with the grapes that are available.  Gala 1 is a blend of predominantly Malbec, with Petit Verdot and Tannat(one of the most heart healthy grapes.) A complex, full bodied wine filled withspice, berry and vanilla, this wine is a tasty accompaniment to smoked meat, as it paired skillfully with Sevy’s smoked beef tenderloin.   Another selection in this line is the FInca Los Nobles, the noble wine, made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Bouchet.  I had never had a Bouchet, but the combination mademe an instant fan.  Concentrated currant, berry, licorice and peppers create a robust, assertive wine with a welcomed, lingering finish.

Like many Argentine wineries, Bodega Luigi Bosca has created a signature wine that is their tribute to the mystical land, the inviting Andes Mountains, and the welcoming people.  Their Icono, Spanish for Icon, is a lively red saluting the strong characteristics of the wine, and of Argentina.  Intense, complex and well structured, Icono is a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, made from 90+year old vines from the best family vineyards in Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza.  Every grape is hand harvested, and no grape is picked before ultimate ripeness is achieved.  Grapes are de-stemmed without breakage, allowing whole berry fermentation creating concentrated flavor.  Aged a total of 18 months in new French oak barrels, the best juice is selected, blended and bottled unfiltered creating the signature Bodega Luigi Boscawine.  At a price point around $150 this is a wine to hold on to for up to 25 years, as additional bottle aging will strengthen the depthand personality of this wine with a long, velvety finish.
Bodega Luigi Bosca varietals can be found at most Centennial locations around Dallas.

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