Valentin Bianchi - 2007 Elsa Malbec

Over the next couple of days I'll be looking at three wines from Argentine producer Valentin Bianchi. And while they have an Eighty-year history in Argentina they also have roots that connect them to both Italy and California. The Italian heritage is Valentin Bianchi himself who founded the winery after immigrating to Argentina in 1920. The California connection came a bit later, in 1996, when the grandsons of the founder recruited well-regarded Napa based winemaker Robert Pepi as a consultant.

Valentin Bianchi makes several tiers of wines. Within those tiers they have a number of Malbecs. This isn't surprising as Malbec is essentially the benchmark grape of Argentina. Malbecs can often provide some of the greatest values in Argentine wine as well as some of the most interesting releases. The 2007 Elsa Malbec saw a minimal amount of oak aging. 15,000 cases of it were imported into the US and it's suggested retail price is about $9.

This wine is a deep purple in color with jammy berry fruit in the nose. The first sip reveals some light sour cherry notes that give way to darker berry and plum fruit in the mid-palate. The finish features some earthiness along with light vanilla and white pepper notes. This is a fruity approachable wine that will go nicely with a wide variety of foods. Strong cheeses and meat dishes would be a great match. A sausage and mushroom pizza would compliment it well also. With alcohol at a modest 13.5% this is an easy one to drink on it's own as well.

For $9 the Elsa Malbec from Valentin Bianchi shows good varietal character in its category. Approximately 45 minutes in the decanter is recommended to get this wine to perform at it's best. Once it opens up the Elsa Malbec proves itself to be a good value. It's approachability; easy drinking style and sufficient complexity make it a wine to consider as an everyday red.

Imported by Quintessential Wines.

Up Next: Valentin Bianchi Famiglia Malbec.

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