Casa Bianchi Winery
Bodegas Valentin Bianchi founded in 1928
Casa Bianchi is a large (865 acres) winery and vineyards operation with a long and proven history. It was founded in 1928 by Don Valentin Bianchi who had left his native Italy some eighteen years earlier. It is located in the San Rafael DOC District, some 150 miles south of Mendoza City, in the southern most part but still within the province of Mendoza. Today, the scenic winery in the very foothills of the Andes is run by fourth-generation great grandson, Raul Bianchi.
In 1996, Bianchi hired prominent Napa Valley winemaker Bob Pepi (Pepi Winery) to help with his vineyard management and update the winery’s winemaking techniques. The association has proven to be quite successful and the wines of Bodegas Valentin Bianchi have risen in statue on both the national and international stages. A multi-million investment by the Bianchi family in a new winery comes with state-of-the –art equipment and technology. Like many other Argentine wineries, Bodegas Valentin Bianchi has ridden the wave of malbec popularity that has vaulted the country’s wines and reputation into the top class of wine producing countries. It is our pleasure to introduce them to you in this International Wine Club selection.
Each of these International Series selections originate from the Province of Mendoza, located in the far western expanse of the country. Mendoza is Argentina’s leading producer of top quality fruit. It is located in the shadow of Mount Aconcagua and plantings average from 2,000-3,600 feet, some of the highest altitude vineyard plantings in the world.
However, the location of each featured winery differs greatly and must be explained when considering their wines.
Casa Bianchi is located 150 miles due south of Mendoza City in the deep southern part of the region. The area is classified as semi-arid, and is cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Plantings are at lower altitudes than other districts, ranging from 1,600 to 2,600 feet. The San Rafael District is the leading locale for high-caliber wines in that part of Argentina and has produced outstanding wines for the last century.
The Uco Valley District (located some 100 miles southeast of Mendoza City) is the home to LTU Wines’ imposing new releases. It mirrors California’s Napa Valley with mild days, wet winters and warm summers with cool nights. Its soils are rocky and permeable with some limestone thrown in throughout the area. Most vineyards are planted at altitudes of between 2,500 and 5,500 feet as you near the foothills. The Uco Valley has recently become among the most well-known areas in Argentine winemaking circles and has produced a high number of successful wines at the international competition level. The grapes of Uco Valley tend to be very intense with moderate acidity and alcoholic content.
Argentina: Fun Wine Facts!
• Argentina is the fifth largest wine producer in the world.
• Malbec, Argentina's flagship grape variety, arrived from France in the 1850's, along with a host of French and other European grape varieties. The vines were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean by a French agronomist, Michel A. Pouget, at the request of Domingo Faustimo Sarmiento who, in 1853, vowed to transform the quality of Argentina's wine industry.
• Mendoza is the largest and most successful region for viticulture in Argentina. Located east of the Andes Mountains, it accounts for 70% of the country's wine production.
• Most of Argentina's wine regions are located in the west central part of the country, near the foothills of the Andes Mountains. With elevations up to 4,900 feet above sea level, some of these vineyards have the highest altitudes in the entire world.
• More Malbec is grown in Argentina than anywhere else in the world.
• With the growing popularity of Malbec worldwide, Argentina now exports Malbec to the vine's old home of France, where vignerons in Cahors (where it is traditionally known as Cot) and Bordeaux have been busy planting Argentine plants in French soils.
• Today there are over 1,300 wineries making noteworthy wines in Argentina.
• The first Argentine grapevines were planted by Spanish immigrants in the 1500's. At that time, Catholic priests made wines to celebrate mass.
• The average vineyard altitude in Argentina is 2,700 feet above sea level.
Facundo Pereira - Winemaker
Facundo Pereira, 43, is a graduate of the Universidad Juan Agustin Maza in Mendoza, where he earned a degree in enology and viticulture in 2003. Pereira actually started in the wine industry while still in school (2001-2003) at the Trivento Bodegas y Vinedos. He moved to Châteaux Montviel, a French-owned property (also called Châteaux Montviel, located in Pomerol) after his graduation and remained there for three-plus years.
His next stop was as production manager at Bodega Monteviejo (owned by the same French company) where he remained until 2007. He became Manager and Chief Winemaker at Bodega Diam Andes in Argentina’s Uco Valley (also owned by a different French company) for the next four years until accepting the winemaker position at Casa Bianchi in 2011. His exceptional experience in making French-style wines has made Casa Bianchi one of the country’s most respected wineries.