In the foothills of the Andes Mountains, approximately 146 miles south of Mendoza City but still within Mendoza Province, lies the San Rafael wine region. The waters of the Diamente and Atuel Rivers provide fertile soil that is surrounded by a “high-desert” of varying heights (from approximately 2000 to 2600 feet). It is in this “Oasis Sur” (“Southern Oasis” in English) that Italian immigrant Valentin Bianchi, with his wife Elsa, followed in his family’s farming footsteps by planting grapevines and opening a winery in 1928.
More than 92 years later, the third and fourth generations of the Bianchi family still make wine in this region. To both honor the land of their family’s roots and bring greater trade and consumer awareness to it, Bodegas Bianchi has launched the Oasis Sur label.
The first two “Oasis Sur” wines are a 2019 vintage Malbec and a Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Malbec casts a deep violet hue and imparts fruity aromas of fresh plum, blackberries and figs, the company says, which Argentine wine connoisseurs have come to expect of the varietal from this region.
Oasis Sur Cabernet Sauvignon reveals spice and floral notes, the company says, as well as red pepper, red fruit leaves, stewed figs, paprika and roasted coffee.
Neither Oasis Sur Malbec nor Cabernet Sauvignon see any oak.
“The Bianchi vineyards straddle a remarkable number of micro-climates and soils, comprising a unique terroir that I have not seen anywhere else in the country,” says Silvio Alberto, chief winemaker for Bodegas Bianchi. “With these wines, I am able to make a ‘blend of Malbec grapes’ all from the same region but with very different expressions – likewise with the Cabernet grapes. In this, we are realizing our goal to make the best ‘total expression’ of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the Oasis Sur.”
Bodegas Bianchi Oasis Sur Malbec and Oasis Sur Cabernet Sauvignon both have a suggested retail price of $15.99 per 750-ml. bottle. They are imported into the U.S. by Quintessential Wines.
“As we bring Oasis Sur to the wine trade and consumers around the country, we’re also introducing them to the ‘Southern Oasis’ of San Rafael, which has flown under the radar as an important Argentine vinicultural area,” says Dennis Kreps, co-owner with his father Stephen D. Kreps, of Quintessential. “Through Bodegas Bianchi, wines from San Rafael have long offered high quality, coupled with great value at all price points, to the American market.”