Luigi Bosca Wine: How the Arizu Family Created a Top Argentinean Winery

The Arizu family has a long history of winemaking, dating back 120 years which has passed from generation to generation. Considering the name Arizu means “oak grove,” it should come as no surprise that the family was able to establish and build one of the most famed wineries in Argentina with oak barrel-aged spirits – Luigi Bosca Wine.

This impressive wine business often uses oak barrels to age its various wines, so perhaps their name was a hint to the importance oak would play in their lives. From their innovative use of steam-powered plowing machinery in the early 1900s (a year after the company was established) and hired highly trained personnel to founding the first Controlled Denomination of Origins to help guarantee the quality of wines produced in specific appellations, Luigi Bosca Winery has managed to stay a the forefront of Argentina’s wine industry since the beginning.

This article focuses on the history of Luigi Bosca Wine, beginning with its founder Leoncio Arizu and continuing through the achievements of his heirs.

An enchanting vineyard nestled in the scenic landscapes of Salta, Argentina

An enchanting vineyard nestled in the scenic landscapes of Salta, Argentina | Image Source

History of Wine in Argentina

To more fully understand the impact of the Arizu family, it’s first necessary to explore Argentina’s wine history. Its wine production began in 1551 when the Spanish brought grape varietals to the country. The first vineyards were planted during Spanish colonial missions, hence why many of these initial vineyards are nearby holy sites such as monasteries. These vineyards were an important part of each religion (Jesuit, Benedictine, etc.), as it was used for communion wine during the ceremonies.

From the 1500s until the 1800s, the primary grapes in Argentina were from the Criolla family. These grapes produced a pink-hued spirit and were planted due to their abundant nature. It was in the mid-1800s that the country introduced red wines like Malbec and cabernet franc because of Michael Aime Pouget. [1]

Four Generations of Argentinean Wine

Uncork the flavors of Argentina

Uncork the flavors of Argentina | Image Source

A clear line traces the origins of the Luigi Bosca Winery back to 1890 when seven-year-old Leoncio moved to Argentina. This move would be the catalyst that would eventually allow the winery to begin form in 1901.

After the move, it only took about eleven years for Leoncio Arizu to found the Luigi Bosca Winery. He had amassed this winery information from multiple familial generations, making him an expert in the field. Instead of using grapes native to the region, he brought fruit vines of European origin, creating a unique wine culture in Luján de Cuyo (a region already known for its wines).

The primary goal of opening the original Luigi Bosca Winery was to create spirits that showcased the unique terroir and growing conditions of the grapes in the region. Leoncio continued to be a trendsetter in the Argentinean wine industry by using advanced technology in his process of wine creation. He is said to have set the standard for wine in the country through multiple innovative techniques and methods set in place.

The company hit its first boom in 1926, leading to the creation of a research/inspiration hub in Finca El Paraíso. This spot later became the birthplace of many important milestones for the family. For example, the second generation of the family (led by Leoncio Saturnino Arizu) took over the family winery at this location in 1933. His expertise in agricultural engineering helped him create a new method for making “author wines” (spirits that are crafted and customized by the same vintner). [2]

Luigi Bosca Winery – The Later Years

Alberto Arizu, part of the third generation of the family, took over the wine business in 1963. As an agricultural engineer like Saturnino, he brought valuable cultivation information to the winery. He is credited with various innovative acts related to wine, including analyzing the terroir and experimenting with/planting new grape varieties in the area. He is also considered one of the leaders in the Argentinean wine industry, as he founded the first CDO (Luján de Cuyo Controlled Denomination of Origin for Malbec) in the country in 1989. [3]

About the Luigi Bosca Winery

The winery sources its grapes from four primary vineyards – Los Miradores, Miralejos, El Paraiso, and Los Nobles. Each vineyard offers distinct characteristics due to the unique terroir at the locations.

  • Los Miradores lies in the Uco Valley district and primarily focuses on producing malbec, which exhibits the area’s soil characteristics. It spans 123 acres.
  • Miralejos is the smallest vineyard in the group, covering only 46 acres. This cultivation area in the Altamira district also focuses on malbec.
  • El Paraiso is the largest and most varied estate of the bunch. This impressive location covers 728 acres and is where the family cultivates everything from pinot noir to Syrah, petit verdot, and sauvignon blanc.
  • Los Nobles is the same size as Los Miradores – 123 acres. However, the family uses this vineyard to grow grape varietals, including cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and riesling.

The Impact of Luigi Bosca Family Winery

As mentioned, the Luigi Bosca Family Winery pioneered the Argentinian wine industry. This family-owned business propelled the wines in Argentina forward through its many firsts (such as the founding of the first DOC).

It has elevated the wine market in Argentina, especially those in the domestic category. Its newly acquired global reach has also helped establish the country’s wines within other international markets.

Argentinean Wines Produced

While Malbec is the focus for multiple estates and vineyards under the Arizu name, the company offers much more than this dry red wine variety. In fact, the wines produced through the Luigi Bosca company fall under six categories, including reds and whites. These categories are explored further below.

Paraiso

This wine only features the top harvest picks, made into a red blend. It’s typically aged for around a year and is made from malbec and cabernet sauvignon grapes. It features notes of red fruits and spices for a graceful and balanced experience.

Icono

The Icono is a bold red made with grapes cultivated in Luján de Cuyo estates. It’s aged for 18 months and is made with malbec and cabernet sauvignon varietals (like Paraiso). This wine features notes of spices, herbs, and wild fruits for a fresh and smooth taste.

Los Nobles

Three types of wines fall under this category: Chardonnay, Malbec, and cabernet bouchet. Each wine variety is produced with grapes from select ancient family vineyards. It’s inspired by the generations of wine information the family has gathered.

De Sangre

This wine line currently has seven varieties, including cabernet sauvignon, malbec DOC (aka CDO in English), a red blend, and a white blend. These wines are inspired by the winemaking passion shared by the family as well as the birth of the company.

Insignia

The Insignia line centers around quality wines, which feature distinct characteristics. You’ll find everything from bold, dry reds to sweet white wines here.

Sparkling Wines

Every wine in this category is made with champagne grapes, focusing on grapes cultivated in the Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. These wines are intended to use for celebratory gatherings and events. The sparkling wines are available in three varieties, each providing a unique experience.

Next Generation of Luigi Bosca Wine

Currently, the fourth generation of the Arizu family is in charge of the Luigi Bosca Winery. Alberto Arizu Jr., the current family business heir, has expanded the business further by turning it into a global company. The business is no longer limited to customers living in and visiting Argentina; it now sells its wines in 60+ international markets. [4]

Other Vineyards Owned by The Arizu Family

While the very first vineyards were marked as the Luigi Bosca Winery, the family has now expanded to a secondary business – Viña Alicia Winery. This new branch of the business focuses on grapes grown in Luján de Cuyo within their two vineyards. It boasts a collection of wine from notably old grape vines (some of which have been around for 110 years).

This second wine project was not created by Leoncio’s son (nor his grandsons). Instead, it was a passion project of Alicia Mateu Arizu, the wife of Alberto Arizu. Roberto Arizu, the son of Alicia and Alberto, now leads it. 

Did you know? The second label of Luigi Bosca Winery is called Paso de Piedra. It typically produces fewer than 105,000 bottles annually. [5]

Without the creation of the Luigi Bosca Winery, the Argentinean wine industry would be vastly different. No longer would certain wines be held to specific standards as noted by the CDO, there would be a much smaller number of grape varietals in the country, and there would not be terroir-focused wines available on the market. Thus, the importance of wine history (and those who avidly work to alter it for the better) is apparent.

You can learn more about how wine history has impacted the industry by reading other articles on This Day In Wine History. Whether you prefer to delve into information about wine varieties or food and wine pairings, the blog offers many options. Once you’ve explored the articles, you can celebrate your newly learned wine history by wearing one of these wine history t-shirts.

This Day In Wine History

April 17, 1853 – the Malbec grape was first introduced to Argentina. It was originally a French wine grape. This spirit is now a flagship variety of the country.

1989 – the first CDO in Argentina is created in Lujan de Cuyo. Now, the collection of CDO wines includes options like the Luigi Bosca Malbec, which is cultivated in one of the family’s vineyards.

Want to Read More? Try These Books!

Exploring Wine Regions - Argentina- A Culinary, Agricultural and Interesting Journey Through Argentina (Exploring Wine Regions (Book Series) 1) Vino Argentino- An Insider's Guide to the Wines and Wine Country of Argentina

References:

[1] “Understand Argentina History through It’s Wine | Argentina Region Guide.” Understand Argentina History through It’s Wine | Argentina Region Guide, argentina.guides.winefolly.com/history/. 

[2] “Luigi Bosca | Wine Spectator.” Wine Spectator, 2022, www.winespectator.com/pages/luigi-bosca. 

[3] “Luigi Bosca | Wine Spectator.” Wine Spectator, 2022, www.winespectator.com/pages/luigi-bosca. 

[4] MacLean, Natalie. “Luigi Bosca | Wineries & Vineyards in Argentina | Natalie MacLean.” Www.nataliemaclean.com, www.nataliemaclean.com/wineries/info/luigi-bosca/511. 

[5] Barnes, Amanda. “Viña Alicia Winery, Arizu Family: Guide to Wineries in Mendoza & Argentina.” South America Wine Guide, southamericawineguide.com/winery/winery-filters/winery-style/family/vina-alicia-winery/.

Categories: Country Profiles, This Day in Wine History | ArticlesTags: , , By Published On: June 22, 2023Last Updated: February 29, 2024

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