Tenuta di Arceno is the lone Italian winery in the Kendall Jackson Family Portfolio. 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 wine-making families. During the 1800’s, the estate was sold to the Piccolomini family from Montalcino. Then in 1994, Jess Jackson purchased the estate.
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.
I’ve written quite a bit of Arceno’s wines in the past. Some very positively, some less so. That being said, my issues have centered around the style of the wines. The southerly, lower lying Castelnuovo Berardenga already provides Chianti Classico of greater color, ripeness and structure. It seems to me that Arceno has amplified these traits where they don’t need to. As a result, the wines seem overdone and lack typicity.
The subject of this article is the estate’s newest wine; its Gran Selezione. I admit to approaching this wine with a sort of guarded optimism. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe their goal is different for this wine than their Chianti Classico. Maybe they’re listening to writers like me? Regardless, this wine is different and to me, atypical of the producer’s style.
The 2016 Tenuta di Arceno Strada al Sasso Gran Selezione is sourced from a single vineyard and is 100% Sangiovese. The stated goal of the winery is to produce a wine of significant structure and they have succeeded.
In the glass the color is a deep purple with violet reflections. Black plum and black cherry aromas are accented with toasted spice and coffee notes. There’s also a hint of toasted fennel seed. On the palate, the wine is brooding. Large scaled tannins mask the fruit slightly at the moment even while decanted. Crushed red cherry, toasted spice, coffee and tobacco notes hint at an interesting evolution. The wine is lively and juicy with plenty of sapid acidity. The “Stone Street” Gran Selezione is vinified in stainless steel and then aged for 10-16 months in new French Oak. This wine used to be a Chianti Classico Riserva but was elevated to Gran Selezione status beginning with the 2016 vintage. 92 points. Good value in the GS category. Find this wine.
It’ll be interesting to see where the style and evolution takes this wine. Salute!