The Valentin Bianchi estate lies in San Rafael, in the most southern part of the Mendoza wine-growing region. The ‘Finca Los Primos’ wines are excellent value, pure and aromatic, while the ‘Famiglia Bianchi’, ‘Particular’ and ‘Enzo’ wines are each a step up in concentration and depth of fruit, from older and lower-yielding vineyards. Founded in 1928 by Italian immigrant Valentin Bianchi, the estate is now run by the third generation of the Bianchi family, who are an integral part of the Argentinean wine scene.
While the feel to the estate is traditional, it has undergone a gradual transformation in recent years, modernising both the winery and the vinification processes. One winery is devoted to their traditional method Brut Non-Vintage, widely considered as Argentina’s best-value sparkler and a separate modern one for the dry wines. Francisco Martinez is the winemaker.
The 350 hectares of vineyard are situated at an altitude of 750m above sea level and are cooler than Mendoza’s major vineyard areas of Luján de Cuyo and Agrelo. This gives a fresh, fine feel to the wines and more precise perfumes and flavours, which develop more gradually over the growing season. Fruit for the ‘Finca Los Primos’ and ‘Famiglia Bianchi’ wines are sourced from the Doña Elsa estate in the village of Rama Caída, while the ‘Particular’ is a selection of the best fruit. One of the coolest parts of San Rafael, the climate in Rama Caída is ideal for Malbec because of the warm days and cool nights that are typical of the area. The soil is of sandy calcareous composition and alluvial origins. The Cabernet Sauvignon for ‘Enzo’ is grown on the Asti estate in Las Paredes, situated seven kilometres west of the city of San Rafael.