For any company, lasting a hundred years is a major achievement. For a family enterprise in Argentina, it’s an enormous one. Bodegas Bianchi know this from personal experience with the fourth generation running the business and a distinguished team of professionals standing ready to shepherd in the company’s centennial.
Bodegas Bianchi: winning hearts and prizes
Between the founding of the first small winery in 1928 in San Rafael, known as El Chiche, “the little winery with the great wines,” and today’s high-tech wineries and vineyards in the Southern Oasis and the Uco Valley, a lot of wine has been poured. The first award in 1934 “For the exhibitor of greatest quality” – given by the Official Wine Exhibition and Competition – was followed by many more honors and labels that won the hearts of the Argentine people. The latest was Best in Show at the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards for Bianchi IV Generación Corte 2019, a kind of international wine Oscar.
On this long, quality-driven journey, the winery launched some of the most iconic labels on the market. Bianchi Particular first appeared in the 1970s, while in 1990, Enzo Bianchi established itself as the flagship of modern Argentine reds. Since 2017, when the Enzo Bianchi winery opened in Los Chacayes, Uco Valley, the portfolio of stand-out wines has expanded greatly.
San Rafael and the Uco Valley
Today, the grapes for the winery’s high-end wines come from two locations, each of which has its own technical and management team focused on premium, terroir-driven products. This is an area in which Bianchi has extensive experience while their leadership team, led by Eng. Rafael Calderón as general manager, is focusing on new developments. “What we want to achieve in the Uco Valley is to complement San Rafael, balancing it with the mountain region. So, at the Enzo Bianchi winery, high end wines are produced under tightly controlled conditions using grapes from there and San Rafael that allow us to distinguish between different terroirs, establishing the distinct qualities and bringing out the best of each location.”
Leading the oenological team is the highly experienced Silvio Alberto, who has been in charge of the wines since 2017. Using grapes from Los Chacayes and San Rafael, the quest for top quality is achieved by realizing the full potential of each terroir. Today, the house has options that, building on 100 years of history, present a fresh, modern profile.
Bodegas Bianchi wines to look out for
Now using grapes from Los Chacayes, a terroir well-known for the quality of its wines, the winery is developing a number of high-end wines that combine the identity of a terroir with the expertise built up across four generations over the winery’s 95 year history.
Bianchi IV Generación Gran Corte 2019, “Is a blend of the red varieties Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, harvested from specially selected parcels to make a few unique, limited edition bottles. Offering great aromatic intensity, the rich nose features red and dark fruit and hints of thyme and black pepper as well as the minerality one gets in Los Chacayes. It’s a complex, seductive wine in which each variety contributes the best of itself,” says Silvio Alberto, Chief Winemaker at Bodegas Bianchi.
Enzo Bianchi Gran Corte 2019. Created as a tribute to the man who mentored the oenologists at Bodegas Bianchi for over 50 years and first released with the 1994 vintage, this year marks this wine’s twenty-fifth anniversary. It presents an outstandingly complex, intense nose, good volume in the mouth and wonderful aging potential. If there’s a way of quantifying this wine, perhaps it’s the fact that each bottle is made with grapes from three plants at the Asti vineyard in Las Paredes, San Rafael.
María Carmen Chardonnay 2021. Made with grapes from the Las Paredes vineyard and aged for 12 months in first and second use French oak barrels, this is a classically made wine with a modern nod to freshness.
Particular Cabernet Sauvignon 2020. Particular has a long history at the winery, with the first bottle released on to the market back in 1976. It was a Cabernet Sauvignon from the 1967 harvest that had until then only been available in the family’s private cellar. In 2005, the winery relaunched the label as a line of varietals, which today consist of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec. The Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 is an expression of the San Rafael terroir, with its subtle notes of spice such as black and red pepper along with aromas from the aging process. In the mouth, it’s substantial, with a structure and complexity that lend it a long, balanced finish.
In addition to their renowned high-end wines, Bodegas Bianchi has a family legacy that speaks to their values and centennial traditions.
The winery has always known how to please its customers with brands such as Gran Famiglia Bianchi, Famiglia Bianchi, Elsa Bianchi, Finca Los Primos and the sparkling wines Bianchi Premium Extra Brut, Famiglia Bianchi and Bianchi Estrella. Their labels New Age and Marló – sweet wines – and their traditional wines such as Don Valentín Lacrado, complete the portfolio of one of Argentina’s most beloved wineries.