Willie's World - Outstanding Argentina Cabernet Sauvignon Values

Three outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon values from Argentina! That’s what I am talking about. These wines fit your budget.

Three Argentinian wines on a wine barrel with a barrel room in the background

What does Bodegas Bianchi and Pascual Toso mean to me? I recently tasted three wines from these two Argentine producers, and they have brought a reset in my view of the wine world. While I often focus on the iconic wines of the world, I’ve preached about value wines that consumers can find and afford to buy. The 2020 Bodegas Bianchi Oasis Sur, the 2020 Bodegas Bianchi Famiglia, and the 2020 Pascual Toso Estate are three Cabernet Sauvignon that live in the real world of reaching wine drinkers looking for affordable quality.

In my forays to Argentina, locals smile when they talk about the growing grape region. When I first visited Argentine wineries in the mid-2000s, I was impressed by the incredible diversity of wines produced in the large Mendoza wine region. Mendoza, originally known as Cuyo, was a region that experienced a dramatic boom in winemaking in the 19th and 20th centuries, which resulted in the area developing into the fifth-largest wine-growing region in the world and the largest in all of Latin America.

While the full-flavored and often succulent Malbec stole the show, I knew in time that Cabernet Sauvignon would gain traction as producers targeted the international marketplace. The three wines are perfect for the current market. While my research into the why and wherefore of icon wines will always be a part of my program, wines that fit consumers everyday meals must be given equal time.

Bodegas Bianchi

Bodegas Bianchi is one of the most prolific wine families in Argentina. Established in San Rafael in 1928 by Italian immigrant Valentin Bianchi, the winery is now run by the fourth generation of the Bianchi family, Valentin’s son, Enzo. The family expanded its holdings with its 2016 acquisition of a 150-hectare estate in Los Chacayes in the Uco Valley. Bodegas Bianchi’s Chief Winemaker Silvio Alberto is one of the best-known winemakers and viniculturists in Argentina. He considers Los Chacayes to be among the best terroir in Mendoza. Silvio is also excited to make wines from San Rafael⁠—a region with varying altitudes, soils, and varietal characteristics differing from the rest of Mendoza. Silvio created the Oasis Sur Cabernet Sauvignon to show how unique wines from this “southern oasis” are, sourcing the grapes at altitudes of ~2,650 feet.

Pascual Toso

Pascual Toso focuses on Las Barrancas, its single vineyard estate in premium soils in Mendoza. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Pascual expanded the business and acquired 988 acres of vineyards in Maipú. Today, the Maipú area is considered by technicians to be the prime wine-producing area in Argentina. In the early 2000s, the winery added well-known winemaker Paul Hobbs as a consultant, and with winemaker Felipe Stahlschmidt, the winery has continued to grow and improve its portfolio.

Argentina Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting Notes

2020 Bodegas Bianchi Oasis Sur Cabernet Sauvignon, San Rafael: The wine is bright, alive and soft in the finish; lovely red fruit flavors; bring immediate enjoyment to the waiting palate. It should be delicious with a savory chicken stew; lightly seasoned pork kebabs; invite family, friends, and neighbors, and you will be surprised how much everyone enjoys the moment.

2020 Bodegas Bianchi Famiglia Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza: This wine brings lovely richness to the fore; slightly elevated on the palate and delivering excellent pleasure; rustic earth, dried spices, black fruits, and licorice; nice with a lightly seasoned lamb stew, fine with roasted game birds, and perfect with grilled tri-tips.

2020 Pascual Toso Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza: An incredible Cabernet value; attractive black cherries, some spice, hints of earth, and a trace of oak; try with gruyere topped grilled hamburgers; a good choice with grilled lamb chops; perfection with a grilled, well-marbled ribeye and a side of blue cheese.

Wine professionals often default to comments such as, “Malbec tastes like Cabernet, but it is softer,” or "Argentine Cabernets are lighter than their Napa counterparts." When I enjoyed my time in Argentina pairing the country’s red wines with grilled meats, empanadas and other meal delights, I did not compare the wines with other places in the world; I just enjoyed the pairings. Explore these Cabernets from Argentina, they’ll transport you and elevate your weekly wine repertoire.

—Wilfred Wong