Famiglia Bianchi Chardonnay 2004
Chardonnay from Argentina
Valentin Bianchi's Chardonnay grapes come from Estate Dona Elsa and Las Paredes Estate, which is situated in the San Rafael DOC of Mendoza at 730 to 790 meters above sea level. The soil is sandy calcareous of alluvial origins.
The color of this wine, a soft yellow with a faint golden hue, is immediately attractive. Aromatically, the complexity produced by the right amount of new oak, sur lies againg, malolactic fermentation and exceptional fruit is apparent. Alluring hints of vanilla, apples, and spices in the nose lead to similiar flavors on the palate, with the addition of coconut and cloves. There is a rich, silky mouth feel, with refreshing acid balance and a long, pleasant finish.
This wine should be served slightly chilled, with white meats, seafood and pasta in cream sauce.
Famiglia Bianchi Winery
(ahr-jen-TEE-nah) Now fifth in the world for wine production, Argentina is catching up in the quality wine sector. A long time wine producer, Argentina used to make wine in order to drink it, not export it. And so the wines produced were quaffable and rustic and made for the local's everyday dinner. Yet it's hard not to get caught up in the wine market of the world and some winemakers decided it was time for Argentina to show their stuff. Better winemaking technology was brought in, new winemaking techniques were learned and good viticulture practices flourished. The result? World-class wines with unique style and variety.
Notable Facts Unlike its Chilean neighbor, Argentina's vineyards are spread out around the country. The best known region is Mendoza, almost parallel to Santiago to the west. Mendoza contains the sub-regions of Maipu (pronounced MY-pu) and San Rafael. Grape-wise, the most important white is Chardonnay, making wine similar to California's style on the variety. Another fun white grape to try is Torrontes. Almost only grown in Argentina, Torrontes makes wines that are crisp, aromatic and easy-drinking. Some of the best versions of this wine come from the northern region of Salta, with very high altitude vineyards. As for the reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is the main grape for many wines leaving the country, but Malbec, the grape Argentinians like to call their own, makes very distinctive wines that are structured, dense and velvety. Many more varieties happily grow in the country, but for export, and consistent quality, these are the primary grapes.
About South America
Young, organically farmed Carmenère at Chile's De Martino estate vineyard Chile
are the regions producing the most wine coming out of the continent. The wines from this area are good value with a distinctive taste. They create new world wines with old world character.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.