From a veritable sea of Malbec we think we have found one that truly stands out, made by one of the legendary families from Argentina. Located in San Rafael, Mendoza, a four-hour drive south of Mendoza City the Bianchi family has been making wine since 1928. Previously we featured the La Familia Cabernet Sauvignon in this newsletter. The Valentin Bianchi series is a more affordable line by this third generation family. This one hundred percent Malbec has the bright fruit flavors that have made Mendoza famous. Full-bodied with a rich structure, we were impressed by the round, supple tannins and generous, long finish. Happily priced for the everyday, this wine nonetheless has what it takes to complement some of your heartiest dishes from the grill, smoker and oven.
|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.