The Bianchi family winery was founded in 1928 by Italian immigrant Valentin Bianchi. It now covers 350 hectares of vineyard, situated 750m above sea level in San Rafael, about 240km south of Mendoza city. This is a cooler area than Mendoza's major vineyard areas of Luján de Cuyo and Agrelo because it is further south, which helps the flavours and perfumes develop more gradually, resulting in more aromatic wines. The estate is now run by the third generation of the family and has undergone a gradual transformation in the past few years, modernising both the winery and the vinification processes. Finca Los Primos comprises a range of excellent value varietals. Famiglia Bianchi, Particular and Enzo are each a step up in concentration and depth of fruit, from older and lower yielding vineyards.
The grapes for this wine are grown on the Doña Elsa Estate, situated in Rama Caída, San Rafael, Mendoza at 750 metres above sea level. Rama Caída is among the coolest areas of San Rafael, with sandy calcareous soils of alluvial origin. Harvest took place by hand.
The growing season began warm, then turned and remained cool, producing fresh wines for the 2013 vintage. Much needed spring rains and an absence of a major frost led to a good fruit set as Argentine winemakers reported normal to 25% higher yields. A cold spell hit Mendoza during the middle of March, delaying maturation and picking. The heat returned for harvest from early March to mid-April and as a result, the grapes had high acidity levels and low alcohol.
Bianchi follow the traditional French methods for making Sauternes and other similar dessert wines. After naturally occurring botrytis formed on around 40% of the grapes, the best were selected and picked by hand at the end of May, well after the regular grape harvest. Fermentation was in French oak barrels and continued until the cold winter temperatures stopped the process. In the spring, the fermentation started again, until it finally finished naturally due to the combination of alcohol and naturally high sugar concentration. The wine remained in barrels for 12 months until a blend of the best of the barrels was made just prior to bottling.
90% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc.
Residual sugar = ~80g/litre (ie sweet but not hugely so).
A rich golden colour with inviting perfumes of honey, citrus rind and stone fruits. Full-bodied, with appealing juicy stone fruits alongside gentle vanilla complexity and lively citrus acidity. Perfectly balanced with a lingering finish.
ABV = 13.5%.