Starting their venture in 1974, Glenn Bianchi and his father Joseph purchased a winery and vineyard on the banks of the San Joaquin River in the Central Valley of California. In 2000, Glenn purchased 40 acres of vineyards on the East side of Paso Robles, which became the home of Bianchi Winery. Today, the wines you’ll sample are the culmination of the dreams of three generations of one California family spanning four decades. Winemaker Chris Stanton embraces a hands-off winemaking style; with little human intervention, he allows Mother Nature to showcase what the region has to offer. Here are a few recent samples tasted. If you’re in the region, stop by the tasting room!
2012 Bianchi Primitivo, Paso Robles, California ($32)
This is a limited production Primitivo that offers up ripe, rich blue and black fruits with a nice undertone of spice. We paired it with a mushroom ravioli which really amped up the spiciness. It is a delicious wine that showcases what Paso produces—delicious juice!
2012 Bianchi Syranot Red Blend, Paso Robles & Santa Maria, California ($38)
Syranot is a somewhat unusual blend of 63% Petite Sirah, 28% Pinot noir and 9% Syrah. When I first tasted this wine it took me back to one of my favorite wine stories. Back in the nineties, I was fortunate to attend Cakebread family celebrations in Napa Valley, back when Jack Cakebread was still with us. On one of those occasions, after some spirited Bocce ball competition, Jack invited Pamela and me to try some wine he was blending. He would not tell us what the blend was until we tried it. In those days I thought anything Jack made would be phenomenal, and this blend did not disappoint. Jack seemed a little hesitant to tell us what grapes he had blended and was surprised we liked it. My fondness must have come through as genuine, when I requested a refill and queried again about the specific grapes and if I could purchase a bottle. Jack sheepishly admitted he had blended Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon and that he too, was fond of it, but was not sure if he would bottle it. Just like Cakebread’s experiment, Bianchi has blended and bottled three varietals that to my limited knowledge have never been bottled before. The blend is surprisingly good and all the grapes bring a lot to the table as their individual components showcase their attributes. The Petite Sirah forms a powerful base while the Pinot noir pretties it up with lifted floral notes and the Syrah firms up the flavors and structure. The earthy notes on the finish made a tasty pairing with wild mushroom turnovers.
2012 Bianchi Petite Sirah, Paso Robles, California ($28)
Paso Robles has a long history of producing massively fruity Petite Sirah wines and this one is no exception. Powerful plum, coffee and floral aromas explode as it is poured. An avalanche of red and black fruit flavors assault the palate with a chorus of candied ginger, crème caramel and espresso chiming in on the slightly tannic finish. Santa Maria style tri-tip will pair well with this wine. Drink now.
2013 Bianchi Merlot, Paso Robles, California ($24)
Bianchi Merlot is layered with plum and cherry flavors that carry through to the finish. The acidity is fresh, and the tannins are firm. Start a campfire, invite some friends, and enjoy with S’mores.
2015 Bianchi Rose, Paso Robles, California ($21)
Fresh and crisp, this Rose is light on its feet. It’s a lovely, pretty Provencal style Rose with nuances of strawberries that finishes with a tinge of tropical notes. Pair with your favorite spa weekend getaway or neighborhood gathering.