Some might say heaven on earth. The Argiano estate was built during the Renaissance. The property extends for over 100 hectares (that’s more than 250 acres) about half of which is devoted to vineyards. The rest is olive groves and meadows. As if all that were not enough, Mount Amiata to the southeast protects the vineyards et al from inclement weather. It is any wonder that the area has been doing wine for centuries? The local soil, once under water, is filled with minerals and the grapes are picked by hand. The Montalcino town fortress is still standing, never conquered by Siena or Florence. On the last weekend in October there’s a festival with archers dressed in medieval costumes and I daresay lots more including fine local wines. Today’s wine is a Super Tuscan, meaning a fine wine made from international grapes as well as Tuscany’s signature red, Sangiovese. Despite their pedestrian appellation such wines often go for a lot more. The companion wine is a French Cotes du Rhone at less than half the price.
Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials.“ “Description: The Argiano estate takes its name from the Roman god Janus, whose two faces looked to the future and to the past. Tasting Note: Lots of dark fruit in this wine with a mineral and black licorice character. Full body, with chewy yet polished tannins and a long finish. This is rich, powerful and balanced. Extremely well made from a top producer in Montalcino. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese. Better in 2015. Score – 93. (James Suckling at his web site, July 2, 2013).” And now for my review.
At the first sips this wine was multilayered and yet subtle. It was long, very long. A potato knish (potatoes in puff pastry) darkened the contents of glass that became too sweet. Then came the main meal; chili made with spicy salsa over brown rice. The libation was dark and chewy expressing great balance between acidity and tannins. I liked its oak. Zesty guacamole caused this wine’s substance to decline as its sweetness increased. When paired with fresh pineapple this liquid remained long.
The second meal focused on a chicken leg, which was roasted in a mixture of tomatoes, onions, cumin, and coriander seed. In response our Italian friend was very rich and pleasantly woody. It was quite long but a bit too sweet. A medley of sautéed vegetables, red, orange, and yellow bell peppers accompanied by mushrooms, made this Super Tuscan chewy, tasting of licorice and tobacco. I noted balanced acidity and tannins. Fruit juice candy muted this drink somewhat but it remained very present.
The final meal centered on slow cooked round steak. The fermented juice was very forward, round, and slightly sweet. It was long and mouth filling with noticeable but not excessive acidity. The accompanying white potatoes brought no changes; don’t get me wrong, the wine was fine. The accompanying sweet potatoes brought no changes. I really noted the balance. In the presence of roasted eggplant slices the Super Tuscan’s acidity stepped away. I missed it. But the wine remained long. Fiery green Yemeni jalapeno pepper sauce on the meat definitely muted this wine.
Final verdict. I would definitely buy this wine again. But it wasn’t a 93, whatever that is. I would love to buy this producer’s Brunello de Montalcino, but local distributors don’t carry it, on either side of the river.Access the companion wine A Wine Lover's Weekly Review Of $10 Wine - A Red Cotes du Rhone
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would
rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario
French-language community college. His wine websites include
www.theworldwidewine.com and http://www.theitalianwineconnection.com
Visit his site devoted to touring Italy www.travelitalytravel.com
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