This is one of those feel good stories that brings a tear to your eye. We sold Bianchi wines for decades but lost track of each other. Producers like Catena, Altos las Hormigas and Layer Cake filled our shelves, so we didn’t know what to expect when we opened the bottle. After a sip, we knew we had to bring it back. Valentin Bianchi moved to San Rafael, Mendoza and established his vineyards and winery in 1928. Today it is still in his family run by three of his grandchildren. In 1996 they hired California winemaker Robert Pepi to consult in the vineyards and the winery. The wine showcases a huge amount of blackberry and cassis flavors on the palate with a long smooth finish. In a blind tasting we would have easily mistaken this for a California wine. The one hundred percent Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are hand picked from the Asti and Dońa Elsa Estate in Rama Caida, San Rafael, Mendoza. Aged in French oak for ten months and then bottled and stored for another ten months, this 90 point Wine Advocate wine is ready to drink today but will improve with short term aging.
|In 1928, Italian immigrant Valentin Bianchi bought a vineyard and small winery called El Chiche in Mendoza, Argentina. When Valentin's sons joined the company in the early 1950s, they renamed the company Valentin Bianchi. Today his grandsons, Valentin Eduardo, Ricardo Stradella and Alejandro Ruben manage the estate. The Valentin Bianchi vineyards – Asti, Las Paredes and Dona Elsa – comprise over 716 acres and are located in San Rafael region, an area thought to have the best soil in Mendoza. The vineyards are planted with Italian, Californian and French rootstock. Francisco Martinez is the winemaker for all Valentin Bianchi labels, and has been with the winery since 1979. In 1996, winemaker Robert Pepi, of Napa, California was hired as a consultant to introduce contemporary techniques while maintaining the wines' traditional Argentine character.