One of the oldest wine history in Montalcino
Argiano has probably one of the most beautiful, or at least my favorite for sure, drives in the area. If you follow my Instagram stories, the road to reach the winery is the place where I go running some times and where I stop to take pictures of their vineyards more than running actually 🙂
Before arriving at the main gate of the estate you will go through an endless and colorful field of vineyards. The piece and the beauty of this place will take you to another dimension.
Speaking with Francesco, their main agronomist, there is one thing (he said many interesting things) that it’s still impressed in my mind.
“Every vintage has been significantly characterized by one main difficult and important decision taken in the vineyard”.
Yes because also when you have a very good vintage, you still have to take decisions to follow the specific needs of that year. You may have a beautiful summer but too much heat, you may have a lot of rain or no rain at all. When working with mother nature, every year it’s different and what they do here is to really reflect and especially respect those differences in their wines.
When he was talking about the 2017, I could feel his concern when he had to say to the owners that they may had to sacrifice the production in order for the vines to survive the heat and the lack of water of that season. But luckily at the end they did not need to do it, so listening to this episode, and other similar to this one, was very important to me to understand how much at Argiano there is care and love for the land.
They started a huge project which took them years in order to analyze every aspect of their soils, but it was fundamental to better understand the different soils present in their 57 hectares of vineyards (and olive trees). There is a beautiful video showing in info-graphics the studies they did there, you can find it here.
Knowing exactly the components and every aspects of their soils and studying for more than 10 years the characteristics of every single vineyard gives them the possibility to work in a very meticulous way, where each parcel is treated in a different way to the one just next to it.
Low intervention, no chemicals, creating a bio-diverse ecosystem, using their technical knowledge acquired with their studies, but especially love and care are the most important ingredients that make Argiano wines. I was really impressed by Francesco’s deep knowledge of this territory and of their vineyards.
Montalcino has a peculiarity more than any other wine region of the world (considering its smallness): the diversity of the types of soils and of the micro-organic elements that are in there. In such small piece of land that can be a parcel of vineyard you can find a part which will have more clay, than you move and find some limestone and in just three meters a silty sand soil. For that reason they think it’s very important to know every meter of their estate and respond according to the diversity that they can find in there.
If you read my previous article on the different sub-zones of Montalcino you may remember the characteristics of this side, the one facing south, which is generally flatter and warmer than other areas also if Argiano has very specific altitude (around 350m a.s.l.) and different terroirs.
In the cellar they recently moved from a more modern style back to the origins of Montalcino, fermentation takes place in stainless steel mainly, but a part in concrete vats, where they are thinking to move in the next future. The Rosso and Brunello age in big oak barrels while their Super Tuscan goes in barriques.
The winery and the Villas, were recently restored by the new owners, a billionaire family from Brasil, that fallen in love with this place in 2014 and decided to make it home.
The wines I had the chance to taste had a very clear fil rouge: the elegance, especially in the new vintages. The Brunello 2015, the preview of the 2016 and the Rosso 2018 had a perfect combination (also of course being different wines from different vintages) of pleasantness, elegance, body and freshness.
Going through the wines
Rosso di Montalcino 2018 – lean and streamlined, a lot of red fruit and floral notes. Very gastronomic wine, would easily pair with a wide range of food.
Brunello di Montalcino 2015 – very complex nose, red fruit again, red oranges, notes of mushrooms, rare meat, in the mouth has a good fruit intensity matched by fresh acidity and fine tannins. Especially I was surprised by the alcohol volume which is 14% while I found some Brunello 2015 that have more than 15%, in my opinion the lower amount of alcohol it’s a confirmation of the amazing work in the vineyards.
Brunello di Montalcino 2016 and Brunello Vigna del Suolo 2016 (previews) – these two wines really impressed me, probably they were my two favorites. Of course the vintage is a great one and also if the wines are not ready yet, I could see a clear path on their evolution way. The notes were very delicate, fresh flowers, small red berries, cacao, tobacco and a very pleasant and elegant mouth, already well balanced also if of course the tannins have still to integrate, but they were very smooth. The peculiarity of Vigna del Suolo, their cru with over 60 years old vines all incredibly managed by Francesco, was the minerality, which was slightly present in all the 3 wines but here had its more clear expression.
Brunello Riserva 2010 – This riserva is very special because, of course it comes from a very well rated vintage, but in Argiano also because it comes from a vineyard that was 6 years old at the time of the harvest. Yes I am not kidding you. Do you think it’s not possible to make a riserva with a 6 y.o. vines? Try this wine. In my opinion it’s still a wine that needs time in the bottle, they were still aging the Sangiovese in barriques in that period, so in my opinion the wine is not at its best expression yet.
In order to better understand the longevity of these wines I was lucky enough to taste the Brunello 2004 and the Riserva 1979, two amazing wines where I preferred not to take tasting notes, but just enjoy this amazing possibility.
From this visit it is even more clear to me how difficult it is to classify the different areas of Montalcino as there are so many variations inside a very small portion of territory, but I think that is one of the most stimulating and challenging part of such a unique place like Montalcino.