Gran Famiglia Bianchi
Expressing the Mendoza region’s unique terroir and the vineyards’ best varietal expressions.
With a history dating back more than 90 years and four generations, the Bianchi family prides itself on valuing tradition, prestige, and innovation in the world-famous winegrowing region of Mendoza, Argentina. The winery began quite humbly in 1928 and today has grown to become one of the most popular wineries in Mendoza, proudly promoting the entire region with its premium wines that capture the personality of this beautifully unique landscape.
The story of Bodegas Bianchi begins with Valentín Bianchi who was born in Italy in 1887. In 1910, at the young age of 23, Valentín and his family left behind their small town of Fasano and emigrated to Mendoza, Argentina. Valentín had a strong entrepreneurial spirit and threw himself into several different jobs over the years, but his ultimate goal was to have his own vineyard and start a family winery. In 1928, Valentín achieved this dream and opened a small winery in San Rafael called El Chiche, “the small winery of the great wines.”
The small winery flourished, and even early on, the wines were declared the ‘Maximum Exponent of Quality’ at the renowned Mendoza Official Wine Exhibition and Contest. Word of Valentín Bianchi’s premium wines quickly spread to Buenos Aires and beyond, and the winery was on its way to stardom. El Chiche was later renamed to Valentín Bianchi, and then finally became known as Bodegas Bianchi as it is today.
Valentín’s son, Enzo Bianchi, followed his father into the winery business, along with his brother-in-law Aurelio Stradella, and continued Valentín’s vision, helping expand and modernize the family winery to include a large and diverse portfolio of brands, from everyday wines to iconic reserves. This month’s featured wines are from the ‘Famiglia Bianchi’ and ‘Gran Famiglia Bianchi’ ranges, the family’s reserve levels of wines, expressing the Mendoza region’s unique terroir and the vineyards’ best varietal expressions.
In 2016, Bodegas Bianchi expanded into the Uco Valley by acquiring another property in the up-and-coming Los Chacayes region. Both locations (San Rafael and Uco Valley) are among the most popular wineries to visit in Mendoza.
Today, Bodegas Bianchi is run by Enzo’s children, Valentín, Raul, and Sylvia, along with their children, the fourth generation, who proudly continue their family legacy. We are thrilled to share these wonderful wines with our International Wine Club members. Cheers!
Map of the area
Argentina's Wine History
For the past three decades, a single grape varietal has been responsible for the increase in international reputation for Argentina’s burgeoning fine wine industry. That grape is the French Bordeaux varietal, Malbec, which was formerly used to blend with other better-known Bordeaux varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
The fact is, Argentina can trace its wines back many centuries, even though it is deceivingly considered a ‘New World’ wine region. The first plantings were recorded around 1550, when Spanish colonizers rooted the first vitis vinifera vines in the country. Then, back in the middle of the 19th century, Malbec found its way to Argentina at the hands of French agronomist, Miguel Aime Pouget. For some unexplained reason, Malbec thrived in the semi-arid climate of Argentina’s high-altitude wine growing regions, and over time, became the country’s most reliable (for quality) grape.
As in other countries, Argentina has benefited from the global surge in small, upscale wineries that have risen over the past two decades. These wineries are well-equipped and capable of competing on the international wine stage. Today, there are more acres planted in Argentina than the combined plantings of Australia and New Zealand, and many of these vineyards are between 75 and 100 years old or older.
Over the years, a number of top French (and other European) wine entities have chosen to make financial investments in Argentina as well, seeing the opportunity to capitalize on the highly-sought after export quality wines being produced. Malbec continues to be loved and appreciated by the international market and firmly stands as Argentina’s most exported wine today.
Much of the credit for Argentina’s rise in quality and popularity should be given to the country’s growers who internally decided to limit yields of their fruit in an effort to improve quality. Argentina has also had a handful of international winemakers advise its wineries and help improve the standards of Argentine wine across the board. The most notable examples include U.S.-born winemaker Paul Hobbs at Vina Cobos and French-born winemaker Michel Rolland at Bodega Rolland, both of which are located in Mendoza, the home of this month’s featured winery, Bodegas Bianchi. This resultant quality aspect has fueled the country’s exports and placed Argentine wines on par with several of the world’s top producers.
Argentina continues to be the fifth largest producer of wine in the world, and the largest in South America.
Argentina: Fun Facts!
• Argentina is home to some of the highest altitude vineyards in the world.
• More Malbec is produced in Mendoza, Argentina than anywhere else in the world.
• Argentina is considered the original home for the tango, a dance that originated around the end of the 19th century in Buenos Aires.
• South America is home to four species of camelids: llamas, alpacas, vicunas and guanacos, spread across the Andean Mountains of Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile and Peru.
Argentina's Wine Regions
Argentina’s most famous and most important wine region is Mendoza, located on a high-altitude plateau at the edge of the Andes Mountains along the western side of the country. The Andes magnificently act as a barrier to the humid winds of the Pacific Ocean, and with the distance to the Atlantic Ocean, the temperate climate of Mendoza provides an ideal setting for growing grapes. It is the high altitude though that is perhaps the most important characteristic of the Mendoza terroir.
At elevations ranging from 2,600 to 3,900 feet above sea level, Mendoza’s vineyards see high diurnal temperature swings (high daytime temperatures and cooler nights) which ensures the development of full phenolic ripeness. The rocky, sandy soils are also perfect for viticulture and offer a distinct minerality to the wines. While Malbec is undoubtedly the star of Mendoza, there are also extensive plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah, Torrontes and Sauvignon Blanc.