Luigi Bosca focuses on producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon

19 August, 2021

The man who helped establish Malbec as Argentina’s flagship grape is now bidding to showcase the country’s potential as a producer of world-class Cabernet Sauvignon.

Alberto Arizu, the fourth-generation owner of Bodega Luigi Bosca in Mendoza, spent a decade spreading the gospel of Malbec while serving as president at Wines of Argentina. Malbec accounts for 40% of Luigi Bosca’s production, but Arizu sees Cabernet as the next frontier.

“Today we are concentrating our economic efforts and our talents on creating a world-class Cabernet Sauvignon,” says Arizu. “Argentina has great potential for Cabernet Sauvignon, because of our elevation, our weather and the soil. But we need to develop real character for Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina that people around the world can recognise. That is our most important project for the following years.”

Luigi Bosca produces Cabernet in four regions – Las Compuertas and Agrelo in Luján de Cuyo, and two in Uco Valley. Grapes grown in Las Compuertas bring structure, while the team has discovered Cabernet with beautiful black fruit notes and delicate character in Uco Valley.

“In the blend of these areas, we find a unique opportunity to have a very recognisable Cabernet Sauvignon style,” says Arizu. “We are finding in our Cab very different characteristics to Napa and Chile. Our Cabernet Sauvignon is not green, which is a great advantage.

“Our Cab is a wine with plenty of black fruits, which gives the wines a very sexy style, which for consumers is much more interesting than the pyrazine in the Napa Cabs, in some Bordeaux Cabs and some Chilean Cabs. Because we are producing at a good height, with a warmer climate, the ripening of the grapes is fantastic.”

Around 15% of Luigi Bosca’s vineyards are now dedicated to Cabernet, but the plan is to increase that to 25%. “We are looking for another vineyard in Uco Valley to produce Cabernet Sauvignon in the future. We like Altamira. It is very well-known for Malbecs, and I love Malbec from Altamira, but in my opinion Cabernet from Altamira will be very interesting.”

Despite the intense focus on Cabernet, Luigi Bosca is certainly not turning its back on Malbec.

“I dedicated a huge part of my life not just promoting Bosca wines, but also promoting Argentine wines and establishing Malbec as a flagship,” says Arizu. “It has been a great challenge.

“It’s very important to have a flagship. Malbec has opened the door for Argentina to show the potential of our wines. To have a flagship was great. People want to discover new things – organic wines, low-alcohol, different styles that are not so exuberant, with more restraint. In that way, Argentina has an incredible palette of possibilities. We can create a diverse range of Malbecs from different vineyards, from full-bodied wines to very delicate, floral, beautiful wines.”

Arizu moved to California in the late 1990s, after completing his studies in Mendoza, and became immersed in an era dominated by brilliant pioneers like Robert Mondavi. At the time, Argentina was the fifth largest wine producer in the world, but exports were negligible. The soaring popularity of Malbec in international markets has changed all that, and 50% of Luigi Bosca’s wines are now exporting. It expects exports to account for 60% of sales by 2026.

“We had growth in our domestic market and in exports [during the pandemic]. We are seeing very solid growth in key markets like the UK, US, Brazil and China.

“In the past, we had a wider vision on exports. We have built very strong and solid markets in more than 50 countries around the world. But today the international business has incredible challenges for everybody. We are concentrating on developing solid bases for our brand in key markets. We are working hard on them, without putting our wines on every shelf around the world.”

Luigi Bosca is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, it is championing a new range called De Sangre, and it will also launch a luxury wine called Paraiso. “It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec from our best regions, with very careful winemaking,” says Arizu. The wine was bottled six months ago, and it’s maturing in the bottle. We are very excited to launch this great wine.”

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