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The wines of Valentin Bianchi, Mendoza, Argentina

Bodega y Vinedos Valentin Bianchi SA, Torres 500, 5600 San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina
Tel: 0054 2627 422 046 Fax: 0054 2627 301 31
E-mail: informes@vbianchi.com
UK agent: Charles Hawkins (01572 823 030; general@charleshawkins.demon.co.uk)

UC Davis-trained Valentin Bianchi makes a wide range of wines of uniformly good quality. Production is a hefty 500 000 cases per year, from 380 ha of family owned vineyards plus grapes bought in from another 1000 ha of vineyards. Work is currently underway to improve the viticulture in these contract vineyards.

I was particularly impressed by the value for money offered by the cheaper wines, which show a surprising amount of character for these price points. [Information on availability in the UK will be posted soon.]

Arrabal Semillon Chardonnay 2002
Very rich bright, fruity nose. Slightly peachy palate showing a good concentration of tropical fruit with a lemony edge. Appealing. Very good+ (£3.99)

Arrabal Bonarda 2001
Lovely vivid cherry and berry fruit with a nice savoury meaty edge. Juicy, chewy palate with a savoury edge and good acidity. Delicious. Very good+ (£3.99)

Arrabal Malbec 2000
Savoury, juicy fruit on the nose leads to a vividly juicy palate with a nice savouriness and good acidity. Very tasty. Very good+ (£4.49)

Arrabal Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2000
Appealing berry fruit nose leads to a chunky palate with a chocolatey edge to the fruit. There’s also a touch of minerality. Very good (£5.49)

Valentin Bianchi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Luz 1999
Sweet American oak sheen to the nose, which displays quite rich blackcurrant fruit. The palate shows sweet, slightly intense, lush fruit with some vanilla and spice from the oak. Almost a Spanish style. Very good+

Valenti Bianchi Malbec Reserva Luz 1999
The oak works a little better with the Malbec. Rich, spicy brambly nose with some sweetness to thee fruit. The palate is concentrated and quite lush, with plenty of sweet spicy oak in evidence. Very good+

Familia Bianchi Malbec 2000
Great concentration. Opaque red/black colour. Rich, seamless, lush nose with dense spicy fruit and a liquoricey edge, with some chocolate notes. Concentrated fruit on the palate, which is quite classy with sweet vanillin oak notes. Tasty, in a modern oaky style. Very good/excellent

Familia Bianchi Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Deep coloured. Sweet liquoricey blackcurrant fruit on the nose. The palate is dense, chewy and concentrated with dense ripe fruit and some sweet oak combining well with the fruit. Very good/excellent

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