2018 Bianchi Winery, Cabernet Franc Reserve – Best of Class at International Cabernet Franc Wine Competition and Celebration

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The Awards

At the April 2022 International Cabernet Franc Blind Wine Competition and Celebration held in Copperopolis, California, the 2018Bianchi Winery Cabernet Franc won several awards. This was their first time entering the competition. Two sets of judges presided over the tasting, one being the Professional Judges and the other being People’s Choice Judges. The People’s Choice Judges for category 4 ($76 to $100), awarded a Silver Medal and Best of Class to the 2018 Bianchi Cabernet Franc. The Professional Judges also awarded it a Silver medal. For more information on the Annual International Cabernet Franc Wine Competition and Celebration click on the following links:

Blind Wine Competition: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2022/04/09/3rd-annual-cabernet-franc-wine-competition-celebration-results/

Wine Tasting & Appetizers: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2022/04/11/wine-tasting-appetizers-at-the-3rd-annual-cabernet-franc-celebration/

Winemaker’s Dinner Featuring Cabernet Franc: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2022/04/14/cabernet-franc-wine-competition-and-celebration-winemakers-dinner/

The Winery

(Photo from Bianchi Winery)

Located at 3380 Branch Rd, Paso Robles, California, this was their first time entering the competition.  While their history goes back three generations starting in Central Valley, in 2000 they acquired 50 acres in Paso Robles. Today they have a world-class and state of the art winemaking facility (real time tank temperature monitoring, moisture content in the vineyards, micro-oxidation system, hand sorting, variable pneumatic press, etc.) creating exquisite boutique and artisan small lot wines. Additionally they have a tasting room located just off Highway 1 in Laguna Beach, a small community in Southern California.

Today the winery is run by Beau Bianchi, grandson of the founder and the winemaker is Todd Weiher. Todd has worked at Bianchi for the last 14 years and less than a year ago, got the nod to become the head winemaker. The transition with so much history will be seamless. Todd had done some of his education at UC Davis and Cal Poly before taking on jobs at various wineries, primarily in the Central Coast AVA.

A new logo was introduced just over 1 year ago which is an interpretation of a grape cluster on a vine. This new logo is for their Signature Series label. The cursive and stylized “B” is for their Reserve wines. Currently their wines have three distinct labels: Signature Series, Reserve Series and Shadow Ridge. Each has a unique identity and market for the winery from Wine Club to restaurants to consumers. The wine varietals include Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Sparkling, Zinfandel Port, Merlot, Chardonnay, Rose, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and a few others. Today the Reserve label produces approximately 2,000/cases per year and the Signature label produces 5,000/cases per year.

Additionally on the property they host weddings, private parties and have a beautiful Vineyard House for rent.

The Wine, 2018 Bianchi Cabernet Franc Reserve

Had not tasted this wine until last evening and what a wonderful treat! First on the eyes, a lush purple and magenta color and medium viscosity. On the nose soft floral aroma of violets, soft leather and sweet vanilla pipe tobacco. Blackberries and Boysenberries rise from the glass to entice one to taste.  Once on the palate, black cherries and embracing fruits (not sweet) almost overwhelm the senses in a phenomenal sense and a bit uncommon for Cabernet Franc. This is by no means a criticism but a praise of unique quality and enjoyment wine. The finish is soft and rounded with tannins hiding and in stealth mode in the background. Once the wine opened up for two hours, it changed and showed its structure and multi-facetted layers. Noticed a lack of pyrazine characteristics but it did not diminish the taste or quality of the wine. Found out later, that they harvest the grapes when ripe to purposely produce a less vegetal characteristics. This wine just made my Annual Best Wines Tasted for 2022 (official list will be out in December 2022). The wine was aged in 100% new French oak for 24 months. The wine sells for $80/bottle. This is the first time they have submitted their Cabernet Franc Reserve for a wine competition. Talk about a great start!

The Food and Wine Pairing

Paired last evening with a 24-hour marinated tri-tip in a mixture of Chaka and teriyaki sauces (70/30).  Seasoned with black coarse pepper and Applewood salt. Seared to 650 degrees and served medium rare. Accompanying the meal was a Yukon potato and fresh garden salad topped with onions and bacon. Truly a remarkable food and wine pairing.

Category Four was one of the most difficult flights for the blind competition as all were excellent wines. I have tasted almost all of them and would be proud to have any or all in the cellar. So when Bianchi Winery won the event, you now know why it already made my annual listing of Best Wines Tasted.






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