If you’re interested in visiting any Argentinian wineries in Mendoza and the Uco Valley, you may have read about the awesome, hours long, multi-course lunches with free flowing wine and gourmet food.
When we were there we treated ourselves to two long lunches in the Uco Valley – one down-home and relaxed at Bodega la Azul, and one a bit more upscale at Domaine Bousquet.
I don’t usually do whole blog posts about meals, but this one was exceptional! If you are planning a trip to the Uco Valley in Argentina or are looking for a super meal and will go anywhere for it, do come here.
Everyone, from the person who answered my initial email, to the tour guide, to our waiter and all people in between were very nice, genuine, accommodating, and made us feel welcome.
Domaine Bousquet Winery Tour
Lunch at Domaine Bousquet included a free winery tour which we did before we sat down to lunch. Each winery does things a little differently so even though we’d already done several other tours, it was still interesting to see how they create the wine and hear a little about the history of the place.
The owner actually gifted this winery to his daughter who currently lives in Florida. He then realized he wanted to stay in the Uco Valley so purchased land next door and called it Jean Bousquet to differentiate it (barely) from his daughter’s vineyard, Domaine Bousquet.
It’s a bit confusing driving here because you see a sign for Jean Bousquet and think “We’re here!” but google tells you to keep on truckin’ and you have a small existential crisis wherein you think that you’ve somehow outsmarted google. Then you see the real sign for Domaine Bousquet, and all is right with the world again.
Lunch at Gaia Restaurant in Domaine Bousquet
After the tour we crossed the lawn to the restaurant where we’d made a reservation for the four course lunch. But when we got there, Brian and I looked at each other, then at the waiter, and immediately requested the six course lunch, por favor. I don’t know, all of a sudden four courses just seemed like not enough.
We were greeted with a glass of sparkling pink wine and served an amuse bouche that I honestly can’t remember because my bouche was already so amused with the wonderful bubbles in my glass.
They gave us a basket of bread and olive oil for dipping, along with a pour of sauvignon blanc.
The second course was a spiral pasta with ricotta, potato, and capers and they served it with a crisp white blend. I loved this pasta. It resembled a weird little filled snake and was like no other pasta presentation I’ve seen before.
The primer paso was kind of like a flat empanada filled with lamb and topped with raisins and a yogurt sauce. The menu also said it had pumpkin but I wasn’t able to discern any. Nonetheless, it was really good – better than the pasta if we’re rating things, but that speaks to how yummy this was since the pasta was quite good.
The lamb empanada was served with a red blend that I would describe to you but I’m pretty sure Brian drank mine.
The main dish was a filet mignon, served with grilled veggies, a green pea mash and demi-glace. Compared with filet mignon in the USA, the cut was huge. It was cooked perfectly and so tender, which was good because all we got was a butter knife with a slightly serrated edge. We had no problems cleaning our plates though.
They served this with their Malbec Grand Reserve and the bigness of that wine was a perfect complement to the steak.
Wait, there’s more! After our main dish, we got a Pre-Postre. A pre-dessert!!!! It was an interesting amalgamation of candied fruit, almonds, blue cheese and alcayota, which is kind of like a spaghetti squash. It’s simmered in sugar until it has the consistency of a sweet stringy jelly. That description sounds gross, but it wasn’t. It was definitely tasty, especially coupled with the pungency of the blue cheese and the crunchy umami of the almonds.
With this, we got an amazingly strong Malbec Dulce Reserva, which was kind of like a port. I gave almost all of mine to Brian who was gamely finishing my wine since I was the designated driver on this day. What a team player!
The final course was a dessert of grapefruit ganache, pistachios, and passion fruit with chardonnay ice cream. That definitely tasted as good as it sounds but we could have stopped at the cheese/alcayota dish and I would have been happy too.
For the finale, they broke out the sparkling wine again, only a white one this time, not a rose.
So in total, 6 courses, 7 glasses of wine. (‘Cause remember, they gave us one with the bread basket!)
Basically, our calorie intake for the week. But hey, it was vacation.
- Reservations are required in advance. You can do a Noon tour, followed by lunch, or dine first and follow up with a 4pm tour.
- Including the 45 minute tour, we were there for 4 hours.
- Oh, and cost for the whole thing, including tip? About $75 USD.