Argiano – The First 400 Years!
Jul 19, 2017
Not even Angelo Gaja is as old as Argiano, our new Montalcino producer whose 2012 Brunello (96 pts Suckling, 94 pts Wine Advocate) has been appraised as one of the top wines of a very good vintage.
This shouldn’t be a surprise as Argiano, established in 1580, has been at the forefront for a very long time. The estate, located in the village of Sant’Angelo in warmer southwestern Montalcino, was among the first established in the region. Many years later Argiano co-sponsored the original Brunello Consorzio and helped found the Brunello DOC, one of Italy’s most prestigious. You might say accomplishments like these give an estate “chops.”
The land is gold plate too.
Argiano’s 57-planted hectares are spread across an elevated plateau resting 1,000 feet above the surrounding countryside. Gentle breezes from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west keep the temperatures from overheating. Underground all the goodies are in place – veins of limestone, pockets of clay and patches of gravel. The neighborhood is so good that happy Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes live there alongside some very pleasant Petit Verdot, a few rows of scholarly Syrah and longtime major tenant Sangiovese Grosso. Under Argiano’s organic viticulture regimen they all prosper and share the rich terroir without
Argiano Goes Forward
Four centuries plus of quality grape growing is one thing, but this is the wine business after all and the big question is – what has Argiano done for me lately? Well, I’m glad you asked because this is where the people come into the story. Less than five years ago, new ownership entered the picture. Longtime proprietor Countess Cinzano (yes, that one) passed from the scene and new owner André Esteves stepped in. In her day the countess had enlisted renowned consultant Giacomo Tachis, considered a founder of the “Super Tuscan” category. Tachis (Sassicaia etc.) set the initial course for Argiano’s flagship Super Tuscan “Solengo.”
André Esteves’s arrival in 2013 brought new resources and a spirit of reinvigoration to Argiano.
He made his initial imprint by adding an innovative, highly functional new barrel cellar to the estate’s historic underground aging caves. Cellar renovations are just the beginning for the new landlord. Argiano’s crown jewel vineyards have been expanded and a system of rotational replanting with healthy plant material has been undertaken alongside various restoration projects on the estate. Super precise technology too (agri precision viticulture) has been brought hand in hand with a commitment to organic farming (certification pending). Overall it’s been a pretty clean sweep at Argiano. Now is the perfect time to dial in to the story and the current vintages are the perfect place to start.
Argiano Rosso di Montalcino DOC
100% Sangiovese Grosso from certified (young) Brunello sites partially crushed and cold fermented for two weeks. It’s infectiously good – gulp, gulp!
Argiano Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
96pts James Suckling
100% Sangiovese Grosso from 10 to 55-year old Brunello vines, fermented spontaneously with indigenous yeast initially in steel, subsequently in cement and large barrels. No filtration. No monkey business. Very hip wine.
Argiano Solengo IGT
Unique in every way, Argiano Solengo weaves Atlantic and Mediterranean grapes into a tapestry of ripe fruit, mildly toasty oak and silky tannins. One of Montalcino’s few “Super Tuscan” wines, Solange is made like a fine Bordeaux (cold soak, small oak, etc.) but has the warm embracing heart of a generous Côte-Rôtie. No words…just a cavalcade of ums and ahs.