The Enzo Bianchi name has a distinctive Italian ring to it, as like many other “New World” wines, its parent company, Valentin Bianchi, was founded by European immigrants nearly a century ago. In South America, it was the Italians who followed the agricultural heritage of their homeland and planted vines in such fertile soil as Argentina’s Mendoza region.
Likewise, Valentin Bianchi was an Italian immigrant who arrived in Argentina in 1910. A success story worthy of being in a Horatio Alger novel, Bianchi ended up owning many diverse businesses, from lumber to construction and became a member of the Municipal Council in San Rafael.
By 1928, after achieving great success, Bianchi achieved one more lifelong dream—he bought a vineyard and opened a small winery. The first wine he produced was a red “Super Medoc”. Remarkably, by 1934, his wines were award-winning and receiving national recognition and fine wine shops in Buenos Aires were stocking the wines on their shelves. Jump-start to the present day, and Valentin’s sons, grandsons and great-grandchildren, the second, third and fourth generation in the business, now called Casa Bianchi, continue his legacy.
The 716 acres of vineyards are filled with rootstalk from Valentin’s native Italy, as well as vines from California and France, and the Bianchi wines continue to receive awards, both in Argentina and abroad.
Enzo Bianchi, a cabernet sauvignon blended with small amounts of other varieties, including Merlot, Malbec and/or petit verdot, is the winery’s flagship label, with the grapes coming from three of the winery’s vineyards. Four other labels, Particular, Famiglia Bianchi and Elsa are also exported to the U.S, market and feature such varietals as malbec, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and torrontes, each of which have made Argentina a world-class wine country.
Pursuitist had the opportunity to sample several of Bianchi’s wines, including its sparkling wine, called Bianchi Brut. Produced with 62% chardonnay, 33% pinot noir and 5% viognier grapes, the wine is light and delightful—with a fine and delicate nose of tropical fruit and white peach. Made in the traditional French Champenoise method, the wine sees one year of “sur lies” aging in the bottle, where it undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle (MSRP: $21.99).
Bianchi’s red wines were notable, including its 2014 “Particular Malbec” which retails for $30.99. The deep red wine made of 100% malbec grapes, was fermented in French oak and was complex with elegant hints of toast, slight vanilla, caramel, spices and chocolate. Full of body, it is best served with pork, beef and salmon.
The winery’s flagship wine, Enzo Bianchi, is 73% cabernet sauvignon, 20% malbec and 6% petit verdot. The deep red wine has aromas of black pepper and paprika, due to the Cabernet, while the fruity notes of the Malbec and petit verdot combine to form the round and velvety vintage. Fermented for 18 months in 100% French oak, the wine has notes of smoke and chocolate. The wine is a perfect accompaniment to red meat. The 2013 vintage retails for $54.99.
Today, the company exports to more than 40 countries in Europe, North America, Central America, South America and Asia. The company has achieved tremendous success around the world and its wines are sought out by both wine aficionados and casual wine drinkers alike.
“Our wines are not aggressive,” Federico Nino, export director for Bodega Valentin Bianchi told Pursuitist during his recent visit to New York. “They are balanced and go very nicely with foods. They are friendly, likeable and approachable.”
Valentin Bianchi wines are imported to the U.S. by Napa, Calif.-based Quintessential Wines. They are available at most major wine shops.
Carrie Coolidge is a Pursuitist contributor based in Manhattan. From 2009 to 2011, Carrie served as Co-Editor of Luxist, the luxury lifestyle website at AOL where she ran the Luxist Awards, a program that honored the very best in fine living. From 1996 to 2009, Carrie was a Staff Writer at Forbes magazine, where she covered real estate, personal finance and the insurance industry, among other areas. Carrie is also the author of six books, including "The Business of America is Business". Follow her on Twitter: @carriecoolidge