Submitted by tana on Fri, 03/04/2011 - 17:51
About the Producer:
Estates that produce both officially classified wines and Super-Tuscans are, in a sense, seeking to balance the best of both worlds. But the practice, routine among progressive producers, can create confusion and conflicts. Consider the case of Argiano, an estate as Montalcino, where the DOCG rules for Brunello permit release of the wine only in the fifth year after the harvest. Argiano’s Brunello from the fine 1995 vintage was issued early in the year 2000, months after Solengo, a Toscana IGT from the great 1997 vintage, had been launched to resounding acclaim. Thus Solengo, a blend of Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, eclipsed the debut of a Brunello that might rate as the estate’s finest to date. In 1995, Argiano’s estate manager Sebastiano Rosa and winemaker Giacomo Tachis selected their best Sangiovese to produce a single Brunello (excluding riserva, which had been made in top years previously). The result was a beautifully concentrated wine of great style that might well be considered a prototype for the new era of Brunello di Montalcino. Not only was 1995 the best vintage in Montalcino since 1990, but with that harvest new rules for Brunello reduced required barrel aging from 3.5 years to 2 years, giving winemakers greater leeway in determining the ideal length of maturation. Brunello and Solengo have restored glory to an estate that has been a landmark wince the twelfth century, when its castle dominated the Orcia valley south of Montalcino. All that remains of the castle is a lonely tower know as Argianaccio. Today the estate is centered in the grandiose palazza built in the fifteenth century by the Gaetani Lovatelli family, which, after relinquishing vast tracts of vineyards to neighboring Banfi, sold the property in 1980 to Noemi Marone Cinzano (of the Cinzano wine and vermouth family of Turin). Argiano has 50 hectares of vines to produce about 230,000 bottles a year, including Rosso di Montalcino DOC.
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