Frenchman Jean Bousquet, who moved to Argentina in 1997 to launch his namesake winery in the 4,000-foot high vineyards of Tapungato in Mendoza, has garnered a growing reputation for ripe and earthy malbecs at a nice value.
But great Argentine malbec values are commonplace these days. That's why this chardonnay-pinot gris hybrid from Bousquet caught my eye - it's an unusual bottle from South America, a blended white that's perfect for affordable summer drinking, and with considerably more body than Argentina's popular and wifty white grape, torrontes. This wine is largely chardonnay, but true to a French style, it's stainless-steel crisp. Those bright acidic edges, though, are rounded out with a 15-percent splash of pinot gris, which adds tropical aromas, a softer pear sweetness, and a subtle tingle of exotic spice. It's both lively and luscious. The fact that Bousquet's grapes are organic is an added bonus - as few organic wines I've sipped so far at this price level manage to taste so polished.
The 2007 Jean Bousquet Chardonnay-Pinot Gris costs $14.99 at selected Pennsylvania wine stores.
- Craig LaBan