Tenuta di Arceno is the lone Italian winery in the Kendall Jackson Family Portfolio. However, despite it’s connection with the new world, Arceno’s roots extend back far beyond the Jackson acquisition.
The first recordings of Tenuta di Arceno date to the year 1504 when the Del Taja’s, an Etruscan family, began purchasing plots that comprise the modern day estate. For centuries they farmed the property and sold their grapes to prominent winemaking families. During the 1800’s, the estate was sold to the Piccolomini family from Montalcino. Then in 1994, Jess Jackson purchased the estate.
Today, Tenuta di Arceno spans almost 2,500 acres, of which 220 are planted to vineyards. Soil and elevation vary greatly, with the latter shifting by almost 1,000 feet at its extremes and the former consisting of clay, sandstone and basalt. During the estate replanting, extensive vineyard analysis was conducted and many different micro climates were identified.
The estate is located near Castelnuovo Berardenga in the southern most part of Chianti Classico. As a result of the exposure and lower elevation, the wines from this commune are typically riper and bolder then their northern counterparts. This contributes greatly to the style of Arceno’s wines.
The 2015 Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico is a well made wine in a ripe, fruity and forward style. A blend of 85% Sangiovese and 15% Merlot, the wine is dark violet in color. I generally think that the Sangiovese-Merlot marriage is a good one. However, in this case it seems to provide the rationale for extended French oak aging.
Aromas of black cherry, licorice and toast are joined on the palate by licorice, spices and toasted vanilla. Elegantly oaked, this boasts lower acidity than comparable Chianti Classicos.
I don’t dislike this wine. However, that’s not the same thing as saying, “I like this wine.” While nothing about it offends, nothing about it excites. This will be well received by California Merlot drinkers. But to those with a taste for Italian wine, they will be disappointed by it’s lack of authentic personality. Were it not for the (slightly) riper fruit of the Berardenga commune, this style of winemaking would meet with a much more negative result. 85 points. About $16. Find this wine.
And that’s the way it is……..