Sunday, March 29, 2020

Bodegas Bianchi honors its roots with new wine project in the Valle de Uco

Bodegas Bianchi has earned a reputation as one of Argentina's best family-owned wineries. The winery marked its 90th anniversary in 2018, and the family commemorated the occasion by adding to its vineyard properties with 420 acres in Vista Flores in the Valle de Uco in the southern end of the Mendoza wine growing region. This region has special significance, because it is here that founder Valentin Bianchi established the original winery in 1928. The new Enzo Bianchi winery is named for Valentin's son, who made wine for the family business for 50 years.  

Silvio Alberto, Chief Winemaker and Agronomist of Bodegas Bianchi, was in New York recently to present current vintages from a number of vineyards at a media dinner. With regard to the new project in the Valle de Uco, Silvio pointed out that the region has a good diurnal shift with warm days and cool nights.  Although San Rafael is famously known as a sparkling wine region, Silvio saw more potential there. In his opinion, "San Rafael means Cabernet Sauvignon," and he said that this area has good conditions to make great wine.  

We had the opportunity to taste through the following wines at the dinner: 

Bodegas Bianchi Famiglia Bianchi Chardonnay, San Rafael, 2018 - This Chardonnay has a nice freshness but also a rich texture. Silvio said he prefers this wine to have more fruit and acidity and he does not have it undergo malolactic fermentation.  It was a crisp, well-balanced wine. $18.99 

Bodegas Bianchi Oasis Sur Malbec, San Rafael, 2019 -  Silvio said he finds this wine "easy to drink" and that it has "lots of fruit."  The vineyards are in the far south of Mendoza.  The wine had black plum and blackberry on the nose and palate. The fruit profile was tart and the wine had a smooth mouthfeel. At $15.99 it's a very good value. 

Bodegas Bianchi Oasis Sur Cabernet Sauvignon, San Rafael 2019 - This wine offered  blackberry and black cherry fruit - tart and fresh - with well-integrated tannins. Another good value at $15.99. 

Bodegas Bianchi Famiglia Bianchi Malbec, Mendoza, 2018 - Dark, ripe cherries dominate the flavor profile with additional notes of tart cranberry and blackberry. A wine of richness and deep flavor that's a great deal at $19.99. 

Bodegas Bianchi Famiglia Bianchi Cabernet Sauvignon, San Rafael, 2017 - This wine had blackberry, spice, and a touch of smoke on the palate with a rich mouthfeel and smooth  finish.  $19.99 

Bodegas Bianchi Gran Famiglia Bianchi Corte, Vista Flores, Uco Valley, 2017 - A "Bordeaux" blend of 59% Malbec, 23% Petit Verdot, 11% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Tannat.  The nose was blackberry and plum with a whiff of caramel (most likely from the French Oak barrels the wine is aged in.)  On the palate there was more black fruit, spice, and minerality.  Silvio noted that "the idea with all my wine is to maintain the fruit." $29.99 

Bodegas Bianchi Particular Malbec, San Rafael, 2017 - The perfumed nose had black fruit and a hint of black pepper. On the palate, there was black cherry, a little spice, and smooth, well-integrated tannin. For this wine, Silvio told us he mixed using new and used French Oak barrels for 12 months.  Before bottling, the wine spent a 10-15 day period in stainless steel tanks, which allowed sediment to precipitate, as the wine is not filtered. A year of bottle aging follows that.  Excellent quality for $30.99. 

Bodegas Bianchi Particular Cabernet Sauvignon, San Rafael, 2017 - Bold wine with slightly briny nose along with prominent black fruit. On the palate, the wine is well structured with nice acidity and good depth of flavor showing black fruit and black pepper, with long length.  $30.99. 

Bodegas Bianchi Enzo Bianchi Gran Corte, San Rafael, 2017 - The fruit on this blended wine is all from San Rafael and includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.  With an inviting nose of black fruits and spice, the wine's was lush with flavors of cherries, blackberries, and pepper.  The wine has well-integrated tannins and long length. $59.99. 

With the development of a new vineyard area, Bodegas Bianchi shows that it is a historic winery that is still striving to improve and expand the types of wines it can make. The tasting with Silvio showed that wines at all levels are made with intention, and that the Bianchi brand has the innovation and attention to quality to continue to offer great wine at excellent price points.  

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